Our Social Media Age
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Politics and Activism

Our Social Media Age

Social media highlights the “great” aspects in life which capture the most attention. The technological generation determines an image, tweet, or post’s worth by the amount of favorites. A filter transforms a photo from mundane to memorable, but a lack of favorites makes an image quickly disappear.

Our Social Media Age

Social media ravages the country. People today use social media to enhance self-identity and help strengthen relations domestically and around the world. Americans dispute whether social media is a blessing or a parasite to the projection of self-identity. Self-identity is the recognition of one’s qualities and potential as an individual. Arguably, users of social media state that the use of these platforms strengthens their identity. The utilization of popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allows the creation of an image of one’s self which may not be genuine. Due to this infringement on the “proper” use of social media, it allows for false identity to be created. Society undermines the power of these tools due to their acceptance in everyday life. It is now in the hands of the upcoming generations to recognize the ability of social media to both create and destroy genuine identity.

Like, favorite, retweet; if you were to ask someone what each one of those terms meant years ago they would have no connection to them in contrast with the one we have today. Social media is fully integrated into society, at any given time one is plugged into some form of it. The young adult population is poisoned with the addiction of tweeting, posting on Facebook, and refreshing Instagram. Our generation spends more time looking down on their phones than paying attention to the world in front of them. Due to the loss of face to face communication to the use of social media, programs such as “Look Up” have been launched. “Look Up” is an awareness program that aims to awaken the “Online Generation” in seeing that they are too involved with their technology and detached from the natural world. Social media can express self identity through word, video, or image; however what is being presented is not always one’s true identity.

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"How many likes will I get? Who is my audience? Does this filter look good?" Social media skews identity with ease. Networks such as Twitter revolve around getting a significant number of likes or retweets, which causes the account holder to tweet about subjects which may not be genuine. Is this tweet funny enough? Is it relatable? These questions are more frequently considered on Twitter rather than whether or not the tweet reflects the author’s persona. Twitter contains a jumbled mess of complaints about one’s day, funny animal pictures, celebrity quotes, philosophical messages, and your everyday “I need a hug” tweet. On Instagram and Facebook your “friends” post pictures of themselves: out at parties, white water rafting, at Disney World, or posing at the beach. They highlight the extraordinary. Social media loses the ordinary. The trips to the grocery store and walks to the bus stop are lost in translation. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram minimize the humanization of the account holder and instead bring forth perfection. They produce only a carefully crafted image.

The interface of social media showcases the polished images of your friends, family, and distant acquaintances. Filters, hashtags, and inspirational quotes clutter the information being shared on the networking sites; instead of being informed about your peers, you find yourself watching as they create a new image for themselves. Each school has them. The people who post hundreds of selfies, but are timid in person. The party kids constantly smiling with Red Solo Cups. Teenagers posing with hookahs and adults smiling next to their prim and polished children on Awards Night. These images are not genuine. Users retouch and relight them. They showcase the best, the unique, the different. Social media highlights the “great” aspects of life which capture the most attention. The technological generation determines an image's, tweet's, or post’s worth by the number of "favorites" or "likes" it receives. A filter transforms a photo from mundane to memorable, but a lack of favorites makes an image quickly disappear.

Social media made Miley Cyrus’ evolution from Hannah Montana to the wrecking ball she is today possible. Hannah Montana was a sweet, squeaky-clean, Disney-star loved by young girls everywhere. However, Miley Cyrus knew she had to rid herself of this identity in order to make her leap into the performing world. The pathway which helped transform Hannah to Miley involved social media, televised outcry, and Miley’s unpredictable choices. Her use of social media depicted her as a hard, punk-esque character. Rather than sporting a pink lemonade and coifed hair, Miley was found clutching a Smirnoff and showcasing her newly shaved head on Instagram. She no longer tweeted about having the best of both worlds, but instead about the parties she went to, the alcohol she drank, and the other celebrities she found herself in tango with. Miley Cyrus utilized her social media sources to make herself a new identity. She posted pictures in all leather; her days sporting bubble-gum pink attire were done. Miley Cyrus created a new entity when she took the reigns of social media and unearthed her new identity. The public forgot about the once innocent Hannah and began to accept the new starlet in front of them: Miley’s Disney Days were over.

Social media contains the power to create a new identity as exemplified by Miley Cyrus and other internet famous celebrities. Although it facilitates keeping ties with acquaintances and checking in on loved ones, social media allows for one to create their own image, which may not always be genuine. While some undermine the power of technology, it often deteriorates one’s sense of self. Self-expression should not be reliant on the computer or the phone: it must occur in person. Technology and the use of social media infringes upon self-expression, causing a decline in the true projection of identity in today’s high-tech generation.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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