What significance do pictures or images perceive? In what way do they serve a purpose? Social media platforms are, now in days, filled with pictures but have you ever wondered why people post the pictures that they do? Does this say anything about them and who they are?
In order to better understand these questions, I am going to talk about my experience with social media and how the certain images that I’ve uploaded reveal my own identity.
When I got my first computer around the age of 10, Myspace was the first social media platform that I ever used. I chose to make a Myspace account because I wanted to talk to my friends online. Although many people have argued that online differs from reality, talking to them online didn’t seem so different than talking in person at school. Even throughout the years when I noticed that as I was changing in real life, my online profiles just simply followed. Now, as I was able to log back into my MySpace account a few months ago, the first thing that stood out to me was my profile picture.
I had totally forgotten that this was the last known image I uploaded on MySpace before I stopped using it. Back then, my level of maturity could’ve be easily seen with the way I represented my online profile picture. Mine of course was this huge smiley face. When I was around 13, my passions mainly consisted of cartoons and video games. My favorite type of cartoons were comedic because oh how much I enjoyed laughing. Nintendo was also my favorite gaming console because it was the first one I ever got.
Since I loved it so much, every time I had to come up with a username, the first thing that came into mind was Nintendo. Now however, when I have to come up with a username on social media, I usually just put my own name because I find it more mature and identifiable with myself. All of my active social media accounts have changed because they represent to the identity I perceive now. The way I now express my online identity through the pictures I have uploaded corresponds to my identity in the real world because most of people I interact on Facebook or even have as friends already know me somewhat For example, by looking at my Facebook profile or Instagram account, you can tell that I like cars and enjoy spending time with my friends.
The cover photo on my wall shows both of these aspects by the way my two other friends and their cars are align with me and my car on a casual evening of hanging out. The image that I have set as my profile picture, is one where I am posing with one of my closest friends from high school.
If you noticed already, the pictures that I have on my social media accounts are often ones that someone else took of my friends and I. This is because the “selfie” trend never really stuck to me. Ironically, to this day, I still find selfies awkward probably because I never even liked pictures. That one selfie that you see here is only uploaded because other people kept bugging me about taking a selfie, (people huh?).
When I moved to college, most of my friends back home nicknamed me “Berkeley” because (as the name suggests) I came to UC Berkeley. On my Instagram, you can see how this, as well as those that I mentioned earlier, connects with what makes up my identity.
Here, you can see again more images that reveal I enjoy spending time with my friends. There are also images of the UC Berkeley campus that connects with my nickname, Berkeley. The image with roses discloses the tremendous love I have for my parents because they were a gift for my mom on mother’s day. The one with Eddie Van Halen is when he came and played a visit to my school’s music department which represent the love I have for music. There were more pictures on my twitter account that furthered revealed more aspects of my identity but unfortunately I decided to delete it a few months ago.
You can see that the pictures I upload on my social media manifests my identity but to what extent? Unfortunately, these images partially represent who I am because they are simply too vague. There are hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy cars as much as I do, love music as much as I do, love spending time with loved ones as much as I do. Anybody can say pretty much relate to me, but what exactly makes me, ME?
There are many other qualities that make up the person that I am but are not all portrayed on my social media accounts. This is because I rather reveal the kind of person I am through actual interactions in person. This, in my opinion, is what’s worth finding out about a person because it creates a sense of attachment and discovery to an individual. I believe that understanding someone’s true identity cannot be achieved by simply glancing through a few representations of what they like because there are thousands of others who like the exact same thing.
In the end, the only way to really understand someone’s identity is through years of experience in knowing a person, going through several experiences together that lead up revealing who really is who. I believe that the images we upload online are factors that express our identities but only to a certain extent. Anyone can claim that they are who ever they show on social media but in the end to truly know someone’s identity, it requires face to face interaction and time to really know them.