Online Identities Hurt Us

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Web forums offer outlets for social interactions; people represent others in varying ways based on the identities displayed to them by those individuals. Individuals are not the real characters on social media and a large percentage of them have either positive or derogatory personalities or are shifting identities (Wu, 2014). Reactions to these appeals are decided by the recipient of that knowledge as well as their legal and ethical principles. However, a viewer's viewpoint has the potential to either harm or help. This applies to discussions, tweets, and the places that people enjoy, deciding if these beliefs are real or false. In the end, it remains complex knowing the identity of persons and the thought other people towards them (Wu, 2014). For such reasons, this paper focuses on the types of image people portray on social media, views people have and the effects of such views on people’s identities.

Online identities on social sites like Facebook Twitter, Instagram, and Telegram among other sites communicate differently to people, depending on the nature of an individual on such sites. Individuals can be outspoken or conservatives and show less or more of themselves on social sites respectively (Wu, 2014). They attract reactions from people differently. An individual may choose to portray positive or negative images by the fashion in which they address diverse views and present different sides of them. Most people achieve this by their photos, views, and comments on religion and politics or sensitive matters of the societies among others. One wonders how right or wrong these can build identities on media. Some of these problems and perhaps most of them are currently affecting the youths who are unable to filter the benefits they can get from social media. Sherry Turkle she reports that: “As for online life, they see its power, they are after all risking their lives to read their messages, but they also view it as one might the weather; to be taken for granted, enjoyed and sometimes endured (172).” These points by Sherry indicate the extent to which social media is becoming harmful to individuals.

Different sections of the society have varying approaches to individual’s way of expression. Some of these are influences from the societal teachings on morals. On the positive side, a community loves to see an individual do according to their values and ethics. An example is a Christian community that expects to see almost every member of their origin to bear the same identity on social media platforms. If one fails, there will be negative reactions from hat section of the society. Conversely, abiding by the societal norms gives ground for belief on a good picture. People face these hurting images from communities. They must then take care on how hurting or helpful online sites can be to them and other individuals.

Decisions to hurt or benefit from online sites remain with the people. People know the right things to do. Some require people to gauge and judge if their actions can be hurtful or not. Cases of people using foul languages in social media can be dangerous and be hurting. Today, there are various ways of tracking the use of social media, and one can easily follow an individual’s manner of using them (Solon, 2013). Corporate bodies use such systems to follow up the images of a person during jobs or talent searches. If what an individual portrays is different from what the corporate body requires, it becomes difficult to understand their views on people ways of expression on social media. If they find something opposite to the identity, they expect of a person; it becomes harmful to the person.

When people try to alter their identities on social sites, it becomes dangerous to them. Most individuals, close or not close to somebody may be keen in one’s identity and have a way of retrieving their history if not deleted (Wu, 2014). They can find the previous kinds of images or statuses people shared. These contribute to their identities. On noticing changing characters about individuals, they fail to categorize them on either the negative or the positive. These change perceptions about people. However, most individuals today may want to have a consistent view of an individual on social sites. If they come across alternating identities about an individual, the negative sides may remain in their memory. According to psychology, most people do not keep most good memories about a person. It is another way online identities may harm.

Individuals have turned into slaves of these technological developments and innovation. Most young people get into using these media sites without thinking of the negatives they pose to them. From the article, Growing up Tethered, a young man admits to sending texts while driving and he is not likely to stop: “I know I should, but it’s not going to happen (171).” He adds that using Facebook makes him look at his mobile all the times for any updates or posts by people. This extends to several other colleagues who admit of the same behaviors. The reason is the desire to connect to other people (Solon, 2013). With the obsession of using social media sites, most people are likely to have an addiction of identifying people and classifying them into either on the negative or positive side. It is; therefore, a sophisticated task escaping being organized by individuals in society.

Times also exist when online identities do not harm. They either benefit or remain without any influences. A community that allows people to have their views and do not judge people by what they say on social media do not concentrate much on them. One of the reasons why some societies do not get too much on social media identities is the awareness they have that people have different images on social media (Solon, 2013). Some people use social media only for entertainment. Their writings on such sites are not any reflections of their exact selves. If an individual stays in a society that has universal images on social media, they do not have to worry about other people’s views. The world being democratic environments should also leave space and assume the identities so that citizens do not feel the hurt or threat (Solon, 2013). To understand these complex concepts, one can monitor other people’s reactions to their identities on social media. Finally, the writer, Sherry admits that it is hard to solve these problems as most children grow in isolation: “Now, we have symptoms born of fears of isolation and abandonment (178)”

In conclusion, social media is currently an addiction to most people, majorly the young ones, coming with benefits or harms. People show different images and invite various reactions. Some can be positive as others negative. Information somebody passes meet different conceptions depending on individual’s origins and their views on morals and ethical values. When one agrees to someone’s image or has similar views, it will build him or her. In some cases, it harms if opinions differ. With the option of choosing the kind of image one shows on social media, the views depend on such choices. Sometimes, such identities may harm or not harm individuals coming across them. It is prudent to make these steps and receive a fair view of the public in general.

Works Cited

Solon, Olivia. "Hyper connectivity is changing our sense of identity." Identity, Wired, 21 Jan. 2013, Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.

Turkle, Sherry. "Growing up tethered." Alone together: why we expect more from technology and less from each other, Basic Books, 2012, pp. 171-186.

Wu, Tim. "As technology gets better, will societies get worse?" Elements, The New Yorker, 6 Feb. 2014, Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.

October 25, 2022
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