Looking Through the Periscope of the Online World.

(No, unfortunately, this is not a well embedded “Periscope” pun).

The online world is an expansive biome filled with countless ways to interact with information, friends, family, employers and many other essential connections. Due to society’s increased reliance on the internet, an online presence is critical in maintaining relations with others in both the online and offline realm, however, online personalities have transcended sheer business needs and have fostered uses in a much more creative sense. These creative facets allow individuals to create online personas that are able to extend one’s presence internationally, with social media playing a large role in making both local and trans-continental communication a common tool in the contemporary digital age.

The overall construction of an online identity: Whilst our online identities are an increasingly large part in shaping who we are as individuals, it is this task of creating an online persona that opens a Pandora’s box. The idea of embracing an online persona is daunting for some, mitigating the benefits of online activity. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others suggest users relinquish some measure of privacy in order to enjoy a social atmosphere that doesn’t require a physical presence.

This article  suggests that the need for an established presence is not as necessary as it once was, stating that “people want to expose some subset of their identity and nothing more”. With this premise in mind, we can see just how important (or unimportant) a prominent social profile truly is.

The effectiveness and/or limitations of online identities: Social media allows users to experience what cyberspace has to offer at a price of partial exposure of their identity, with this in itself is both a boon and a bane in the realm of social interaction. The Idea that people don’t have to place their entire being in an online profile (or multiple profiles) allows people to enter the online realm without feeling as if they’ve “exposed” themselves. This feeling of added comfort that physical interaction doesn’t achieve is a very effective tool in promoting the creation of online identities.

Social media allows users to experience what cyberspace has to offer at a price of partial exposure of their identity, with this in itself is both a boon and a bane in the realm of social interaction. The Idea that people don’t have to place their entire being in an online profile (or multiple profiles) allows people to enter the online realm without feeling as if they’ve “exposed” themselves. This feeling of added comfort that physical interaction doesn’t achieve is a very effective tool in promoting the creation of online identities.personality

Personality by Vic (CC BY 2.0)

This article discusses the relationship between lies and truth, and how they begin to bleed into societies in the form of urgencies and modernity. From this premise, we can use this as an analogy for online and offline interaction and how each form of interaction has its own form of lies and truth, and how each form of interaction is a sort of synonym for both the online and offline spectrums. It is apparent in online media that there is a stigma of “falsehood”, meaning that everything that is seen on social media is seen with an abundance of skepticism. Now, skepticism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there is always a negative connotation that not everything that is online is 100% and that is due to how easy it is to fabricate information online rather than in an analogue sense. Complimenting this theory to an online profile, this stigma that not everything you see is real online creates this limitation for online identities.

Furthermore, this article highlights the aspect of online perception known as gossip, showing how celebrity gossip is “perhaps one of the easiest and readily available forms of gossip” due to the nature of the audience and the lack of a physical presence of said celebrities. Using this knowledge, we can assume that it is the lack of a physical presence that makes it difficult to avoid criticism from others who can prevent any consequence in the real world.

Specifics aspects of my online identity (use of profile picture/s, self-portrayal on particular sites, or how you communicate with others in a specific online setting):

I personally portray myself in the same overarching fashion across multiple platforms to ensure continuity between my profiles and to attempt be somewhat transparent with the friends I meet online given I trust them enough myself. However, the way I act can change depending on the online context. With the ability to essentially “re-invent” yourself each time you step in a public domain, it can get difficult for people to be themselves. Everything that we would ever want to change is available and ready to be used. From our names, our appearance, biographies, the list goes on.

The way in which I attempt to form/maintain relationships and networks online and offline:

For me, it is far easier to form and maintain relationships and connections online that through a physical presence. The idea of not being burdened by the prospect of thinking of a response or not having the ability to “edit” your conversations on the fly is a daunting concept for me personally. People are able to comfortably talk to others based on their own selected interests and utilise the ability to edit and stall responses to maintain more desired conversations. Furthermore, maintaining and forming relationships online is a better alternative as the limitations that come with the location, timing and simply the ability to physically meet up with someone don’t apply to a digital relationship.

By being an active participant in online communities it is very easy to create connections with people you never would have thought otherwise. These connections can be for business, creative leisure, study and a plethora of other reasons and it is through this online medium that users are able to share and receive information with other users for the aforementioned reasons.5079551048_6a27f9cb34_o

Networking by Sean MacEntee (CC BY 2.0)

My past experiences and how they have affected my online personality today:

Previous to this year I wasn’t personally proactive on mainstream social media. I was adamant in believing that Facebook and Twitter were to be used exclusively to talk with friends but not really interact with any one community. However, with this realisation that social media can become more than a strict business tool, I began to brand out to other platforms such as Discord and YouTube to expand my involvement with other community circles. Due to my now expansive perspective on social media, it is now a lot easier to talk to others and find business opportunities from others both locally and internationally.

What I hope to achieve by establishing/expanding my online persona(s):

In essence, by establishing and consequently expanding an online persona in the future I intend to become a more noticeable personality in online atmospheres in order to branch out and create a larger network for business and to extend my knowledge on existing leisure activities.

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Tweets provided by @Gaminggoodness_– 04.17

This Prezi highlights the main point of this article, showing a brief series of points to consider when managing your online life.

(1125 words not including references or citations.)

Reference List:

Marshall, PD ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as a marker of presentational media’, Celebrity studies, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 14. p. 35-48.

Pels, D 2017, Lies are fast, truth is slow: the importance of mastering the rhythms of academic life and work, The London School of Economics and Political Science, retrieved 07.04.17 2017,  <http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/03/14/lies-are-fast-truth-is-slow-the-importance-of-mastering-the-rhythms-of-academic-life-and-work/&gt;.

Vronay, D 2017, The Online Identity Crisis, retrieved 05.04.17 2017, <https://www.wired.com/insights/2014/11/the-online-identity-crisis/&gt;.

Critical Reflection: Through this assignment, I have become more self-aware of my presence online and have decided to consider how I personally interact with people both online and offline and if I act and react in the same way in both biomes. This knowledge has helped me evaluate the role that online personas play and to be critical of others. With the completion of this assignment, I hope to continue to learning about the unspoken “rules and regulations” of the online realm and how to maximise the effectiveness of my online identity.

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