Social Media and Personal Misrepresentation #PO4

The paper by Church and Thambusamy presents how social media users can misrepresent themselves online.  The topic of misrepresentation is oriented around information the user chooses to disclose with the online world.  The core argument presented is that users intentionally misrepresent themselves online, this is done in order to appeal to the “social norms” of competition.  This shows that competition leads to personal misrepresentation and that users hide behind the screen to hide their real selves.  The paper talks about a topic not yet discussed in class and takes a different approach on what the concept of competition.

The texted is structured into simple sections all covering a specific part of the research and presents the information in a logical easy to understand order.  Overall the text was very straight forward and easy to comprehend.

I think as individuals in one way or another we’ve all been influenced by competition in media.  We all in a way try to show our true selves and personalities while also putting on a different face or exposing what is deemed to be a more socially acceptable version of ourselves to the world.  We misrepresent ourselves to the world showing our lives or personalities in a specific way which isn’t particularly true.  We manipulate ourselves to the norms of the world and are often scared to share with the world what isn’t seen as a “norm”.  We want to belong in groups of which we naturally don’t fit.

The paper using a diagram to show the effect of competition and how it is influenced.  It shows our need or want for a certain status, to be part of the norm or for hedonic benefits and this all leads to competition online.  Which leads to intention to misrepresent ourselves or refusal of our true intentions.  We welcome and encourage competition in the online world, we put one user against another.  This competition can be seen through followers, likes and a variety of other ways.  Users will go to extreme methods in order to be the best or to “win” at this competition. Due to the competition users are at times doing opposite to what the media organizations don’t want.  Users choose not to share information or give information that the sites would like them to.  Due to this the organizations try to come up with incentives for information sharing.  Once again, this lack in user input in a form is misrepresentation.

It is safe to believe as long as there is competition and a need to be part of the norm personal misrepresentation will always be taking place.  Competition adds pressure and a need to fall into specific categories and once in that category it leads to an unwillingness to share information that goes against the group you are part of.


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