How much of our ‘true selves’ do we project on Facebook?

We have a name and a surname on Facebook. That’s how they all search as and find us there. But how much of us can fit in a name and a surname? It’s like saying we are what is written on our identifications. So a name and a surname are not all we are. On Facebook more than anywhere else we like to present more than that. So we play a certain role we assign ourselves, always playing it to the fault, like preparing for a job interview, anything must be perfect and rehearsed. Well done and suitable. We must be chosen for the position. But what position is that – they haven’t told us yet!

Surely, more than on one occasion you have caught yourself snooping around other people’s lives on a social network. persuing appreciation of othersWithout even knowing how, you have found yourself viewing the wedding photographs of a somebody you have as a contact on Facebook because years ago you have come across each other on a trip, but you have never seen each other or talked to each other since then. That’s the voyeur point we all have in us, and that social networks have permitted loose without fuss. It is no secret, much less novelty, that we humans are contradictory on our own, covered with the mantle of paradox that sometimes is almost impossible to understand. Since ancient times, it was lamented about how we love to "peek into someone else’s pot” instead making sure what is "simmering” in our own. And since the Internet and everything that goes with it has evolved and exploded on a global level, the whole story has entered a completely new era. On the one hand, we are paranoid and constantly lament the violation or privacy and the potential harm that Internet brings, on the other hand, we love to be on social networks and know what happens with people we know, but also with completely unknown people. Facebook, as the most popular network on the planet, has "captured” a billion-plus people who, maybe not everyone, but a good part, have become dependent on everything that Facebook has to offer. Mark Zuckerberg and his team, although in many aspects are not innovative, nor avant-garde, monitor trends and know what people are interested in. So, who has not looked on Facebook to find his high school sweetheart? Who hasn’t been surprised gossiping about other people photos? A proper level of voyeurism is practically innate to human beings. However, it can be a problem in cases of individuals with compulsive personalities, when there is a preceding behavior to simplify such process. I am speaking about persons fluctuating their sleep so they can perform searches when they begin to disregard other undertakings in their life. Although it is not usually the cause for medical consultation, it is not infrequent to find people with shortfalls in societal skills that are exaggerating with such technologies. Usually, it is individuals with low self-esteem who come in a social network so they can fantasize, they feel that there they can be whatever they want to be.

There are a portion of studies that specify how social networks have a habit of displaying the greatest of ourselves, a way of pursuing the appreciation of others: we have a tendency to post things probable to receive a "like”: while we are inhibited to share other not as much as widely held. Something that is also related to our disconnected life. When we obtain something optimistic, we tend to replicate. If it is negative, we tend to quench that conduct since it generates a negative effect on us. The point of view generates emotions and is responsible for our behaviors. If we feel good it generates a positive state, and we repeat this behavior once again. It can be applied to all features of life.

The image we project about ourselves is always happier and improved with the goal to receive validation from others, many times from unknown people. So we try to appear happier than others, because we always see those people as happier than us, and that is a vicious circle. We see it as Utopia, a new world where everything is possible and obtainable, so when we post things we try to match that perfection. The food we eat is perfect, we are all smiling on every photo we post of ourselves, we write on each other’s walls posting loving messages, we always put on display our traveling photos so others can see how perfect is our life, we exercise and capture our sweat so it’s more plausible for others. Everything we do is for others, to impress them, to make them like us more and obtain their "support”. But, can we handle a single day without checking our Facebook page? If the answer is no, then our happiness is not real. And the more we try to pretend, it is more evident in the eyes of others. So what if you have discovered the date of your death? Who cares what your name truly means? Do you think you should make public the stupid video of your wonderful year on Facebook? Your life does not concern others. Probably not even your family.

That is why when we go offline, the world around us is far from the Utopia we all like others to believe we live in. I have seen "the love” some profess on Facebook and how different it is in reality; I have seen how violent some of them get when on Facebook they are the biggest supporters of nonviolence; I have seen book citations posted as "My favorite author”, when in reality they haven’t even read a book. And a lot of them posting the most beautiful selfies, which they take daily, in reality suffering from broken hearts and/or depression that cannot be seen on those selfies. Everything is superficial and for others. There is nothing of ours in it. Everything is for a show. Like we are some puppets who learned our roles and we always stick to it and play it. That’s when I wonder, why obsess to show the perfect life that we don’t have?

We live much of our time in a parallel reality. Social networks allow us to build and display an image of ourselves that often does not match the genuine one. On Facebook, we are not who we are, but who we want to be. Happiness ceased to be a search and it became a requirement. They all upload photos where you see them smiling and cheerful. There is no room for doubt, anxiety or silence. The good times – whether fictitious or factual – need to be shared and published in order to satisfy the ravenousness of being another compatible user with the cheerful web universe. Better hide the misery on this side of the screen, at the end, no one will know. And maybe, in an effort to convince others, we even convince ourselves that we are happy. Social networks are networks of shared lies.

According to a study by the University of California, the mood of the people is modified and conditioned by the post they see on social networks. Users feel that the lives of others are much better than their own and this causes frustration and anguish. However, this study, which analyzes more than one billion states – assures that what is published online is not always a reflection of reality and only seeks to give an image of "contagious happiness”. The aim is to demonstrate, to appear and to be accepted. It was noted that the most positive the message, the more likes, and comments people get. So the filtered vision of our lives is the one that always goes online. Do we share a cake baked and burned in the oven? No: we share the one that we make the second or the third time, which is perfect. Just like it is supposed to be. It’s the same with our lives, we show our good sides and we hide the burnt parts. We celebrate our birthdays and anniversaries and share stories about them, but we never, ever show are sadness or weakness.

Nobody wants to learn about the misfortunes of others or make a public thing of their own. In social networks, we are not united by love or by terror. Therefore, nobody loves that much. In this world, where every day we are more alone and locked inside a computer, most of us need the acceptance of others. That is why we disguise fear and boredom with emoticons, selfies, and quotes. Afterward, we rejoice in the likes and we feel satisfied. We have received the dose of necessary narcissism to start the day. But there, we are not human beings, but walls. Impenetrable buildings united by the same terror of being discovered. Better if no one even tries to reach and overlook the gap. Nobody dares to make a hole in our wall. Because who knows, perhaps it can crumble down. And wouldn’t that be a thing!?



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