Does Your Social Media Accurately Represent You?
Social media can be considered a reflection of the individual who created the account. The information and images shared all speak about the person from their point of view. However, what would it be like if somebody else was responsible for setting up or managing your social media? Consider this… the image an individual has of themselves might be very different from the way they are perceived by others. Accordingly, the way an individual is presented through social media may give off a much different impression than the one that is self constructed.
Just recently, Dove released a YouTube video with image as its central focus. The video depicted an experiment on how differently women perceive themselves and how others see them. A former forensic artist was used to blindly sketch each woman twice. The first drawing would depict the way the woman described herself and the second drawing would portray the same woman from a different person’s description.
By the end of the study, both drawings of each woman were compared side by side. Overwhelmingly, the self described image portrayed women as more down trodden and haggard than the unbiased third person point of view.
The concept behind Dove’s video was fascinating, but could it go further? Everyday, users of social media are putting forth an image of themselves. Often times, people can be their own worst critic because of a low self esteem. On the other hand, there are those who believe they can do no wrong and have an unwarranted ego and an inflated sense of self importance.
If these individuals are responsible for the production of their own image through social media it stands to reason that we may be receiving an image that is not entirely accurate. A well adjusted college student with good grades and generally prioritized life style may be selling the image of a party going wild child if their social media only shows those kinds of pictures. Someone who thinks little of themselves may post self deprecating comments about themselves even if they have plenty to feel good about or take pride in. The egotist can trump up their meager accomplishments to make it sound like the world would stop functioning if they weren’t there to govern things.
If a user’s social media was created and even managed by an unbiased third part, would viewers get a more accurate image? This could dismiss the idea of social media as a medium of self expression but it might help cut down on the confusion or uncertainty of someone you haven’t personally met.
Constructing an accurate image by a third party probably only applies to personal social media. Online marketing companies make a business out of spinning image for brands all the time. Commercially manufactured images may reflect a degree of accuracy, but the primary purpose of this kind of social media usage is to show what the company wants you to see.