It’s amazing how capable we are of falling in love with someone in the cyber world. Perhaps this is because it has become so easy to hide behind a screen and to mold your personality until it’s perfect for the person you’re seeking. Not only can you Photoshop your pictures, but you can also “Photoshop” your personality.
You’re told what you want to hear, you’re charmed and flattered, then you reciprocate and tell the other person what he or she wants to hear. You develop some sort of instantaneous connection — it seems that this person is so perfect.
But seriously, why would you come across as anything less than perfect? You have all the time and resources in the world to ensure your profile is impeccable. You can be as smooth as you want, as feisty as you want, as sassy as you want and as confident as you want. You can be anything you want.
But this superpower has grown to be a destructive and corrupt one for our generation: Facebook statuses, tweets, Instagram posts, Snapchats and countless other social media creations have clouded our judgment when it comes to people.
It takes so much more time to meet someone in person rather than to hide behind a screen and multitask by speaking to many people at once. It’s disheartening that we prefer multitasking to providing undivided attention to one person at a time. The notion of what’s acceptable has changed — it’s almost necessary to create a separate identity from what might be most “you” for the cyber world.
This multiple personality norm is peculiar and gives evidence to the idea that social media has, in many ways, grown to be a disservice to users.
There is no such thing as true privacy on social media; you can make your profiles and posts as private as possible, but they will still not be totally private. Mutual friends will see what you post, and people can always hack into your accounts. Even if you deleted something, someone has probably already seen it. Once any piece of information makes its Internet debut, it exists in the cyber world.
There’s also the issue of creeping and stalking – but hey, what is the purpose of social media if we don’t utilize it to its full potential? Find out whom he or she follows; scrutinize the photos that he or she likes — you can learn so much about a person from scouring different online identities. What does this person generally tweet? Does it pertain to me? Who are this person’s best friends on Snapchat? How many snaps does this person send a day? This is simply the world in which we live.
These questions matter less in considering platonic relationships than potential love matches. And it’s dangerous because courtship behind a screen presents an opportunity to judge a person based on non-objective misinformation. We start imagining a utopian world in which this person is the perfect significant other. We start dreaming about this person, who is largely a figment of our imaginations.
Many people don’t even end up meeting the people with whom they engage in the cyber world. Sure, sometimes (well, rarely) it works out, but generally things fail right as they began — behind a screen. Nothing is impossible, but realistically, how often do people absolutely reflect their online personas? Not very often.
Your projection of who you are in the cyber world is a superpower. You possess the control and competence to create a reflection of who you want to be. Sometimes we forget how that image — whether or not it is an accurate depiction — is a direct portrayal of how others view us.
So, paint your cyber personality to match your true personality. Be smart and strategic about how you showcase yourself. Be honest and be you.
Photo credit: RKOI