The Many Selves of a Millenial Online
It was that one time when my friend asked for my opinion about a picture she wanted to post online that I realized that we have several personas online.
I found myself saying “Hmm, maybe you can post the four of these on Twitter. So you’d look hot af but still quirky. Then you can post this one on Instagram cause it matches your feed’s aesthetic. If you have to post something on Facebook, maybe that one. But you know, it’s either or.”
Our discussion progressed until she came to a decision of strictly posting one on Instagram then just linking it to her Facebook.
The need to be consistent with how you are or how your brand is on one social media platform is felt to a point that you have to be highly aware of what you post.
Later that day, I realized the many selves of the average millenial online. And without further ado, here are some of them (does not apply to all, but does in general):
THE FACEBOOK SELF
The Facebook self is the most publicly known self of the millenial. Here, he or she connects with almost everyone — friends, family, cute people that are sliding into their friend requests.
The Facebook self is generally wary of what they are posting, fearing that Mom might find out about that party they went to last weekend or that their Uncle might comment a dad joke.
Here, the millenial is sure to look ravishing in the photos that they post but is in danger of being tagged in candid photos (or, god forbid, even drunk photos).
You’ll also find some of the millenial’s productive work on this platform.
The millenial also has the option to choose who can see their posts, but the risk is just too high. Unless, they just don’t care, right?
THE TWITTER SELF
The Twitter self explores more on the millenial’s wit and/or thoughts. On Twitter, you can observe a less uptight millenial.
Here, people show off their wit through things like joking around, “roasting,” and/or simply sending a clear message — all under 140 characters. (Although of course, threads have become trendier nowadays, it still does not invalidate the fact that Twitter simply is a place where you quickly shell out your thoughts)
The Twitter self also does not hold back. Perhaps being given such a small quota of characters allows millenials to stop sugarcoating things if not putting them in a hyperbolic kind of euphemism.
This description is applicable unless it’s just a timeline full of “good morning’s” and “feeling tired’s”
THE INSTAGRAM SELF
The Instagram self is more concerned with looking artsy and maintaining a certain aesthetic. Being a platform that centers around the millenial’s photographs, the Instagram self just cannot help itself to not keep everything curated.
This self likes creating the illusion of being organized. So however messy the millenial may be in real life, they make up for it by having a solid thematic feed.
The Instagram self also showcases the millenial’s hobbies and whatever craft they are in to. If not, it would just be a feed full of selfies.
THE SNAPCHAT SELF
The Snapchat self is probably the rawest among all of the millenial’s online selves. Twitter is only second to this because of the difference in form; Twitter being written and Snapchat being in “stories.”
You might argue that Instagram and Facebook also features the story-like sharing of Snapchat. But notice how Snapchat is exclusive to people who know the user’s handle. This allows millenials to have a sense of exclusivity and therefore being “realer” in their stories.
Taking away the need to be “aesthetically pleasing” or the fear of invasion of privacy fully enables the millenial to be who he really is. Even if it’s just for a couple of seconds.
But if you’re like Kylie Jenner, well, you’ll just have a stories full of videos lip-syncing to songs.
Whether a few of these, or all of these, or none at all apply to you, we cannot deny the fact that our generation has learned the dynamics of having a different persona online rather than in real life.
For the most part, I think that it’s good that you do not fully put yourself online. But at the same time, it’s scary to think that these social media platforms are basically oceans of strangers.
Ultimately, your branding is your choice. Who you are is your choice. Who you choose to show to people is your choice. You just have to be careful with your choices.
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