Write about yourself….
In almost every social media platform,one creates a page, In this blog post I will mostly be referring to the page one creates about himself or herself on Facebook.
Each page consists of a number of things, so that your profile can be unique, such as your name, gender,age,photo etc. It also has a section called About me/write about yourself. This is where Facebook encourages you to write about yourself. In other words to identify yourself as to who you actually are.
I went on my Facebook messenger account and I stalked the profiles of the last 5 people I spoke to. The funny thing is that out of these 5 people, no one chose to fill in or state who they actually are.In other words none of them filled the About me section.This could be the result of a lot of things: laziness, unable to describe themselves in words or simply they do not want to write about themselves and put their ‘identity’ into writing.
Now Facebook has gone a long way since most of us created our profiles and there are a large number of features that did not exist before but do now. Actually let me rephrase that, Facebook has added more features for us to expose who we are without really needing to fill in the About me section.
Yep. That’s right. Facebook doesn’t need you to write about yourself. Mainly because it knows that through its intelligent algorithms and its incredibly sly features, you are going to say who you are more than the About me section ever can, and ever will.
Lets start with photos.
Friend: Dan listen, Do you think this is good for pp?
I’m not going to lie. I have asked this question to people before. I’m very sure some of you have done so too.
For those who don’t understand what I’m talking about, some people nowadays consult other people before uploading their profile picture to make sure it is perfect for them.
The Famous Profile picture ( and cover photo) is the first thing one sees on our profiles, hence one always has to make a good impression no?
Academics from the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a research on 55,000 twitter users and published a research paper called Analyzing Personality through Social Media Profile Picture Choice. According to these academics, ones profile picture can easily tell if you fall into one of five categories.
Now ask yourself one question, do you really think your current profile picture depicts your personality? Or does it identify a person who you want people to believe is you?
Pages and Groups
Facebook has the option in which any person can create associate themselves to page or a group. Every page and/or group is associated with a number of people that enjoy the content of the page or that share some particular interest. Recently, I too have joined a new group called ‘Graphic Designers’- very simply put this group is a group made for every person interested in graphic design yet, nowhere in my profile do I have any mention of graphic design.
Here is however the funny thing about Facebook, the suggested pages and the suggested groups. These in fact may be groups or pages which Facebook believes are good for you. In fact Facebook suggests these things for you so that you may associate yourselves with them. Furthermore Facebook identifies who, from your current friends, are associated with that page already.Why? Mainly because even if you wouldn't have looked for that page you might actually consider being associated to it, knowing beforehand who from your friends are within it.
Thus this is the topic which fascinates me the most out of this topic of online identity. The identity developed online not through self- search and discovery ie: not like my example where I purposely looked for a graphic designers page but the suggested pages which at just the click of a button, we are telling Facebook we like something which in reality may just be a click of the moment. The information one gives Facebook through its own suggestions tells us a lot about our identity. However when one has a huge list of pages and groups how unique of an identity can one really have?
Taking a step back from this, I can say however being on this social media platform for more than 5 years, the pages and likes I have reflect my development in life as well. There are things that some people have liked and associated themselves with in the past that don’t reflect themselves now. However despite all this, it is still part of our online identity and it is still there for your friends to see.
Facebook may be a free social media platform, but it is only free because of the information you provide and give it so that it may sell that info for the most annoying thing ever, Adverts. Anyone notice how when you randomly google or look for something on Facebook, adverts related to that thing come up?
So Facebook not only acts upon the online identity we are creating:
- it gathers that information
- tells advertisers what interests you
- Makes sure to pop Adverts up in front of you when scrolling :)
- …..leading you to buy stuff…any stuff.
So Ladies and Gents, you may not be writing about yourselves in the about me section, but believe you me….Our online identity is beyond that pretty profile picture we chose or that incredible cover photo which we uploaded at the right time to gather as many likes as we could. Our online identity is shaped by that little button on the top right hand side of each and every one of our profiles titled: Activity log, which looks something like this:
That is where all your free information given to Facebook is stored, that is what is telling Facebook what to suggest in terms of friends, pages, groups, and what adverts will be shown to you. It is telling Facebook who you are or who you are claiming to be online...and not the few words you probably neglect to write on your own profile to identify yourself.
This blog is a project for Study Unit MCS3953, University of Malta