We all show the world what we want people to see. Our online profiles are not what we actually are, but only the moments of our lives that are deemed presentable by us. And to show only the good part, we tend to misrepresent and/or refuse to disclose personal information on social media platforms.
As shown in Church’s and Thambusamy’s: Competition and Information Deception in Online Social Networks, competiton is what drives such behavior, in form of competitive norms, status benefits, and hedonic benefits. However, the paper later shows that the relation between competitive social norms and desire for online competition is negative. As Hanan Dudin pointed out, “Compared with many of the other articles we’ve studied in ASTU, none have been as directly intrusive into our lives as this one”, since everyone these days is on social media, whereas other articles were more academic disciple specific.
The article “A social cognitive approach to traditional media content and social media use” shows how people prefer to post more selfies on snapchat than any other platform because it provides a higher degree of privacy by deleting the content after 24 hours and notifying the user if the picture has been saved by another user. This also explains that refusal to disclose personal information could be a matter of privacy and trust, similar to what was established earlier in “Competition and Information Deception in Online Social Networks”. This also shows that refusal to disclose personal information is not necessarily related to online competition.
This behavior driven by competition gives life to a completely different online personality. This draws me to the conclusion that the people we see online are not actually the kind of people we may encounter in our life, and hence, social media platforms cannot be trusted to give a true insight into the user’s life.