Instagram Identity

If it’s true that social media identity is reflective of personal identity, then the picture of me on a camel, the “F*CK DONALD TRUMP” sign from a rap concert, and the short scripture in Arabic letters spelling my name in the header probably portray me exactly the way I want to be seen.
Compared with many of the other articles we’ve studied in ASTU, none have been as directly intrusive into our lives as this one. Although many articles that we’ve studied have been relevant to understanding how competition effects our education, our friendships in psychology and our respective economies, however, this article addresses apps and techniques we employ every single day, and most of us didn’t know how telling these small behaviours are.

Of the formal structural differences, this clear research article matches every other IMRD paper we’ve studied so far. Unlike some IMRD papers this one explains each hypothesis before presenting it, whereas some provide an overall explanation before listing the hypotheses together, such as paper that my presented-on McGuire and Leaper “Competition Coping & In Same Gender Friendships” Other than that, the article commits to a structure that is maintained throughout.

Connecting competition on social media directly to characteristics such as Narcissism, extraversion and the need for popularity, the research reveals undetected behaviours on different social media platforms. Furthermore, the article directly correlates the research to behaviour observed on reality TV and tells us that behaviour that we observe these celebrities portray is behaviour that we emulate in order to achieve the same success and attention that these celebrities do.

Research explains to us that our manipulation of techniques such as retouching, and angling of a picture capture allow us to portray ourselves as exactly how we want to be seen. Our social media identities therefore do not have to be an exact match of our identity in reality, because the online identity is doctored, altered and perfected more or less because we correlate this identity to a self-worth-based competition.

I post pictures on my Instagram page that I believe are reflective of the type of person I am, I am an Arab, I’m politically active and I enjoy exploring different locations and even animal species! But as authentic that personality may be, it is easy to forget that this portrayal is purely of the best moments of my life and identity. Exactly what I want people to see, but not necessarily the whole truth.

Much like Caitlyn’s response argues “the intentions of curating their Instagram feed that either promote negative or positive effects are nuanced” I agree. Social media use is what you make of it. People may choose to post the highlights of their life, and people may choose to post embellished versions of their life. But the effects of those decisions are nuanced depending on how you have curated your feed, you receive from the internet what you have contributed.


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