When posting on social media, how many of us are actually being true to ourselves? Do we display the ‘real’ us or are we putting on a show? The answers to those questions should be yes and yes. I know they are for me anyway. As someone who uses social media, I try very hard to be true to who I feel I am and express my thoughts and beliefs. However, after reviewing the blog article Social Media and My Multiple Personalities, I realize that I am portraying more than who I really am as a person. The owner of the blog Finding Dutchland is Rina Mae Acosta and she shares ideas in her post similar to those in Sherry Turkle’s article Who Am We?
Sherry talks about the many versions of Sherry that she displays including “the ‘French Sherry’, Turkle the social scientist, Dr. Turkle the clinical psychologist, Sherry Turkle the writer of books. Sherry the professor…and ST” All of these people are Sherry Turkle, but different versions of her are displayed on social media in regard to the topic or audience she is addressing. Rina talks about the world of blogging and how she is on various social medial sites in order to reach her audience. She goes on to say that “all of these social media platforms have different focuses and target groups, facilitating different types of interactions and promoting certain behaviors” (Acosta 2014). Different situations call for different discourse, as to be expected.
In Turkle’s article, she explores MUDs or Multi-User Dungeons, where players often play the roles of the opposite sex, where they behave and display characteristics that are a contrast to who they are in real life. Turkle interviewed a 23-year-old male by the name of Stewart who used MUDs to live in a way that he doesn’t and cannot in reality. While Stewart insisted “that he does not role play, but that MUDs simply allow him to be a better version of himself” (Turkle 1996). I don’t know that I would agree with Stewart in this case because based on the article, he has no will or desire to ever be the character he plays in the MUD in real life. It is not a ‘better’ version of himself, but instead a version he is afraid to be or unable to be in his life. While Acosta’s social media use allows her to be a better blogger and attract a larger audience, Stewart is using MUDs to live a fantasy life. Turkle states that “MUDding did not alter Stewart’s sense of himself” (Turkle 1996).
The variances between the ways we communicate on different levels of social media do several things. As a blogger, in Acosta’s case, it allows her to reach out to many different audiences and build up her followers. It also allows people like Stewart to explore the possibilities of who they really are and what potential they have for interactions in reality. For writers in general, reaching out to different audiences and communicating differently over several social media platforms allows the writer to grow, and interact with writers of all genres.