It's no secret that we cultivate an online persona in our social media. Who we are online is not exactly who we are in real life. However, it turns out that we have a different persona for each social media platform.
All forms of social media have one thing in common: they're meant to connect and share information with others. However, each platform has its own culture, for lack of a better term. These social media platforms are like neighboring countries. There are huge similarities between them, but once you cross the border, certain things are done differently.
For example, what do you usually post on Facebook? We usually post our thoughts, update people on what's going on in our lives, and mark important milestones like getting a promotion or getting married. However, would you post the same content on LinkedIn? We can post a grainy selfie on Instagram and gain a lot of likes, but that same selfie won't fly on Pinterest.
Thus, we portray different sides of ourselves on each platform we use, but it's never quite the complete picture.
Researchers gathered data by accessing information on About.me. About.me is a site that links all the social media accounts of individuals in just one platform. Users volunteer their own information, so researchers considered the site to be a reliable source.
The researchers thus analyzed the data from About.me and came up with interesting and even surprising findings. Not only did people have a different online persona for each platform, but differences in demographics were also noticeable. For example, the researchers found that women were less likely to wear glasses when they're taking their profile or display pictures. People under the age of 25 were also less likely to smile in their photos.
Thus, despite our best efforts, we allow gender and age stereotypes to influence the way we create our online persona.
Apparently, the way we act and portray ourselves on different social media platforms may not be a conscious decision. We're not sitting down and crafting strategies on how to best portray ourselves on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Instead, we subconsciously try to fit into the way most people behave on these platforms.
With further research, scientists may be able to discover the near-exact ways in which people create their online persona.
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