The Digital Self

It is not easy for many of us to admit that we feel more socially comfortable, connected, and accepted when we are on our social media pages since it can be misintepretated by a lot of people that we are not socially wise enough or even worse, that we are just boring persons with not-so-interesting personalities. In fact, there is nothing called the universal definition of “a boring person” and even if it existed, it would not be something like, “A boring person is anyone who is not good at starting a conversation and continuing it.”

Personally, it is easier for me to be who I am, clumsy, nervous, and sometimes awkward in public speaking than to pretend to be cool, or at least, interesting in having conversation with others.

Many people agree that the digital self is normally so different from the outside self. However, from my personal perspective and from what I have experienced with my digital self, this difference does not always imply a seriously negative meaning. In many cases, the digital self reflects things that cannot be easily shown from our interaction with people in real life since many of us, including me, feel more relaxed and confident in typing and writing instead of speaking. For instance, during my adolescence, I avoided saying “I love you” or “I miss you” or simply “Thank you” to my parents. However, after I moved to New York and started living a life without seeing my parents every day, sometimes, at night or during holidays, I cannot stop thinking about them who are 8,000 miles away and wanting to say “I love you” to them. At that time, instead of picking up the phone to say such things and possibly creating an awkward moment, I choose to post a status on my Facebook, or send them a direct message on Twitter. It has always made me feel great because I finally said it after years of not knowing how to express it. My digital self, a part of my true self, has become an addition to my outside self.

However, there are limitations of how the digital self should be revealed. Of course, no one of us is a perfect human being with perfect characteristics. Sometimes we act aggressively. Sometimes we are angry. Sometimes we get jealous. Sometimes we say things that we did not think through before we press Enter. In a digital world where we feel more freedom to express ourselves, there are more opportunities given to us to speak out. However, at the same time, there are many “opportunities” for us to be able to hear or to read things that target us or someone close to us. While we are proud of our sense of humor, there is at least one person who is experiencing a moment of humiliation. While we are feeling so relaxed because we have just released a part of our anger and hatred towards someone, that person might be reading it and wanting to kill himself. In many cases, the addition to the outside self is not quite necessary, especially when it is about to hurt other people emotionally and afterwards, driving them to depression and possible folly actions instead of improving the betterness of the situations and relationships. Also, since everything we have said on social media is permanent, unless we decide to delete it, it is always remembered by whoever has read it and becomes the repeating nightmare of the “victim”.

The digital self of us can help create a good brand if we know how to tell a great story based on facts. In contrast, without limitations, this digital self can easily become the destruction of our reputation as well as our true self.

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