Split Personalities

Most people are online these days, most people have created an online profile, an online personality. This is what people see of us when they look at our Facebook, our Twitter, our Instagrams and blogs. They see our personalities, and who we are. But, is our online personality actually the same as our offline personality?

The great thing about creating our own profiles online is that we can share and present what ever information we like. We can choose to upload that party picture, we can choose to post that political tweet, we can choose everything that we share online.

While you can tell a lot about a person from their online profiles, I know first hand that there is some kind of filter that people have before posting something online. I am constantly thinking, in the back of my mind, of who is going to see something if I post it, what they will think and how they will react. While I only ever post things that I believe to be true, some of the things I post are watered down versions of my actual thoughts.

After conducting research, Marriot & Buchanan (2014, p. 177) conclude that “(people) present much the same version of themselves online as offline”. They go on to state that “social networking sites represent an extension of the offline social world rather than a fundamentally different environment”.

I agree with Marriot and Buchanan in their claim of a person’s online personality being an extension of their offline one. I believe that there’s a time and place for everything, which is why people act and say things differently in the presence of friends than they would their mother or grandmother. The thing about an online personality though, is that it has the potential to be shared with everyone publicly. That is why I think an online personality, while still being an accurate representation, is also a watered down version.

Marriot, TC & Buchanan, T 2014, ‘The true self online: Personality correlates of preference for self-expression online, and observer ratings of personality online and offline’, Computers in Human Behaviour, vo. 32, pp. 171-177.


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