In the highly technological and digital age we live in today it’s hard not to find anyone and everyone you know online. Whether you like it or not if you have any sort of online presence you are creating some sort of brand for yourself. Some people spend time and even money stressing about the way they brand themselves online, even if they do not want to be an “influencer” or online creator. For me, my digital identity and how others view me online is relatively important however, I try to keep it authentic and true to who I am offline.
When it comes to crafting my digital identity my main focus is social media such as Instagram, VSCO and even Snapchat. As I look at the way I present myself on these social networking apps they seem to be for the most part relatable to how I present myself offline which I would describe as easy-going and funny. In real life, I often do not care what people think of me so I don’t try harder or go out of my way to impress people. Online though, I seem to notice extra steps I take in the way I create and layout my Instagram to come off as cool and unique. For example, I categorized my Instagram into a business account which lets me put an extra text to show what business the account is for. The text I chose when I set this feature up is ‘Pest Control Service’. Obviously I am neither a business nor a Pest Control Service but I wanted something that made my Instagram stand out from others and make people think “that’s funny. This is someone I want to be friends with”.
Although I do not often publicly post on any form of social media, my Instagram and VSCO are definitely the two places I post the most for all to see. I think part of the reason I don’t post a lot is because I want to come off as a bit mysterious, you never know what or when I will post next, but then again neither do I. The pictures I post on both apps also play into me trying to come off as someone who is cool, which not to honk my own horn but I do think I’m pretty cool. Even the things on VSCO that I republish onto my account all fit a certain kind of “aesthetic” or look I want to associate with myself. Twitter, however, is my more serious side. I never myself tweet on Twitter since I feel like I would just be talking to myself which does not seem “cool” but the things I retweet and like have a lot to do with my opinions and beliefs on social, political, and environmental issues with some funny tweets mixed in here and there. When I look at my overall presence on social media it seems the digital identity I have crafted for myself is who I try to be and view myself in real life but maybe just a little or a lot cooler and put together. I try not to overthink social media as likes and followers do not really affect me but what I do seem to think about is the way others may perceive the content I post and share and how that reflects back into how they perceive me.
Although my digital identity goes beyond social media it seems my most personal and also most public information is located on my social media which is both reassuring and surprising. I have control over what I post on social media but I guess it never really did cross my mind just how public that information is. However, you can still find out things about me that are not on my Instagram or Twitter. By looking at my Spotify account where I have public playlists you can see what kind of music and artists I like and support. Parts of my name are linked to my PS4 Online account which can indicate what kind of games I enjoy playing and that gaming is a hobby of mine. Although I do not have many public posts on my YouTube if you go there you can see parts of my past. Even the way I have created my Bitmoji shows what I look like; a pasty girl with curly blonde hair. As far as shopping goes, I do most of it online by buying things from creators and artists I enjoy and want to support. So who really knows what database or who has my credit card information. When buying from online stores I never really look into if the people and websites I am giving my very very personal information are trustworthy.
After going through my online presence it seems the information I really want private is private but I never realized just how much of my life and identity is online. If someone tried hard enough they could find out a lot about me like where I went to high school, what softball team I was on, where my brother went to college all these personal things without even asking me one question. They can find out parts of my identity and who I am without ever meeting me. I always thought I was a relatively private person offline and online but this has shown me that I am really not that private online and even if I tried to be there are things I do not even think about when considering my digital identity that tells you a lot about me. With social media and the digital world continuing to rapidly advance, it’s important to be critical of what information you are putting out anywhere online.