Who I am Online – My Online Identity

Online Identityby Marc Pletickx (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Your online identity is something that you can choose, construct and transform into a reflection of who you are as a person. Our online lives live in the balance between our constructed self and our true reality (Smith & Watson, 2014).  

In this blog post I am going to outline how I personally choose my profile photos and the evolution on how my online identity has changed over the years through analysis of my Instagram profile. Finally, I will conclude on my goals and wishes for my online presence in the future. 

One of the most important things about an online profile on a social media site is your profile photo. A profile photo is the greatest form of self-presentation (Strano, 2008). It is a form of implicant identity construction that allows us to display our personal characteristics through an image.

Firstly, I will talk about my Facebook profile photo. According to Strano (2008) “Facebook profile images constitute a dynamic display context”

An example of one of my Facebook profiles, Copyright @ Myself

Over my 3 years on Facebook I have had 6 profile photos, which averages out to a new one every 6 months. In these photos, I want to look happy and smiling. I also want it to be an accurate representation of myself. Due to Facebook being the site where I am connected to both my friends and family, I want my profile to project classiness and be family friendly. 

The bright and colourful flowers contrast my black and white outfit and I am smiling whilst look very happy, making me seem inviting and friendly. In this photo I used digital enhancing techniques to make the flowers brighter, smooth my skin and whiten my teeth. I tried to emphasise my positive features and diminish some of my flaws so that when people visited my page, I could put my best self forward. 

A picture of my twitter profile photo, Copyright @ Myself

My twitter profile echoes this sense of putting the images where I believe my positive attributes are highlighted. I want my profile to be more refined and professional, along with being family friendly like my Facebook. As this is a professional page that future employers may access, I want my profile photo to both highlight both my fun personality along with my professional nature.

By using a photo that was taken before I went on my primary school placement, I am wearing appropriate clothes and also have my Deakin lanyard and name badge off. The professional nature of this twitter page is also highlighted in my bio where I show that I am a 2ndyear primary education student and is also reflected in the people I follow. These accounts include the CSIRODeakin University and ABC education.

Some of my tweets also reflect this, including this tweet which includes a mind map about using twitter effectively for my ALM101 class. 

Research has shown that self-presentation differs depending on the environment (Strano, 2008) and this can be seen in my use of another platforming site, Instagram. Instagram to me is a more relaxed form of social media. I am more active and personal on this site than I am on other platforms. I construct my online identity here as somebody who is trendy and vibrant, giving me the ability to explore a different part of my identity (Thomas, 2007)

Here my main focus is about making sure all the friends and people that follow me witness me looking my best. I also post more explicit and intimate pictures of my life, such as travel photos or photos from a night out. I believe that this forms an atmosphere where I am “constantly and narcissistically performing …… for an imagined audience” (Hills, 2009, p. 119). 

A progress history of my Instagram posts, Copyright @ Myself 

My online presence here has changed quite a bit from when I first got Instagram in 2012. Back then, I was not selective in which photos I posted as I am now and would haphazardly postanything. Now I predominantly post photos of me, rarely posting the scenery around me or pictures with friends. Through deleting old embarrassing posts, I have been able to alter and transform my online identity (Thomas, 2007). I have also tweeted to highlight how my online identity has changed over the years and to bring focus on how you can change your online perception

I have a growing fascination with my online identity. I wish to not focus on the likes I get or how much positive feedback I receive, but rather post things that I am proud of and wish to share with my online community. It is also important that I think of my online identity as a ‘digital tattoo’ as once something is posted it is online forever (Braun, 2016)

Another key area that I wish to work on my online connectedness with those in both my ALM101 community and also the education community. I have tweeted about this goal in the past and wish to really work on this in the future and I hope by making this blog post we can start a conversation in the comments.

As always, I leave you with a quote…. 

“Identity will be the most valuable commodity for citizens in the future, ad it will exist primarily online”

Eric Schmidt – Google Chairman 

Word Count = 812 words 

Reference List: 

Braun, L, 2016, ‘Who am I ? : Social Media and Identity’, Braun Bytes Reflection of a Pedagogue, weblog post, 13thMarch, https://braunbytes.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/who-am-i-social-media-and-identity/, retrieved 12 April 2019 

Hills, M 2009, ‘Case study: social networking and self-identity’, in Creeber, G and Martin, R (eds.), Digital Cultures: Understanding New Media, Open University Press, Maidenhead, pp. 117-21, retrieved 13th April 2019

Smith, S and Watson, J 2014, ‘Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation’, in Poletti, A and Rak, J, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 70-95, retrieved 10 April 2019

Strano, M 2008, User Descriptions and Interpretations of Self-Presentation through Facebook Profile Images. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, vol. 2, no. 2, article 5,  https://cyberpsychology.eu/article/view/4212, retrieved 12 April 2019

Thomas, A 2007,Youth Online: Identity and Literacy in the Digital Age, vol. 2 Peter Lang, Google Scholar, retrieved 12 of April 2019

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