I used to hate it when people would say “you seem so different online than you do in real life” as if it was a bad thing. I never understood what they meant. If I saw someone online and they seemed different to me, I never questioned it. It wasn’t my business to determine who they were and I didn’t really mind what anyone did with their own platforms. Nowadays if someone tells me that I seem different, I assume that they must not really know me.
I got a Facebook in fifth grade when FarmVille was all the rage. I didn’t even know what Facebook was, but I knew it Farmville was. It was suddenly the new Webkinz and everyone on the playground was talking about it for reasons I didn’t totally understand until I actually got a Facebook. I successfully lived through the part of life where Facebook games were the only thing anyone my age did, the time when the number of likes on your profile pictures was the most important thing to declare your popularity, and am currently living through the relevant/irrelevant stage that seemingly confuses everyone. On Facebook, I am a student. I use it mainly to communicate with my sorority, Her Campus (a publishing club), and to post all the new articles on the Her Campus page. I occasionally make Facebook events for Greek Light gatherings on campus, but other than that I don’t really post anything anymore. I would say that on Facebook, I’m mostly a classmate, an old friend, or an organization member. Those parts of me are all still parts of me.
I got Twitter account when I was in seventh grade, in 2012. I would mainly use it for tweeting about random things like what I was up to and what I was doing at the mall. I didn’t have an iPhone, so my tweets exclusively were from my desktop or texted in from my “texting” phone. I was only tweeting really dumb stuff until it transformed into something else. I was definitely one of those annoying 13-year-olds on Twitter who would complain about everything and tweet “celebrities” thinking that they actually saw it. But eventually, something different started happening. The more I tweeted at YouTubers, the more YouTube celebrities actually did start following me. And their fans. And a lot of people I didn’t know. This is all fun and games to a 13-year-old but now I mainly look back on it and cringe. I remembered when the tweets I would send would get hundreds of likes and some retweets if the right person retweeted. I would go to YouTube meetups and conferences and people would recognize me. I remember the first time I was recognized by someone I didn’t know. I was in Ohio with my mom visiting family when a girl came up to me and asked me if I was Elizabeth and if we could take a picture together. It was really weird, but I agreed. Twitter made me feel important. Unfortunately and fortunately, Twitter lost its sparkle. When people from my school started following me, I started getting more attention at school, a place where I didn’t want the attention at all. I slowly stopped tweeting, made a different account, and laid low for a while. Aftera few months of trying to distance myself from my own personal Twitter, I decided to delete it entirely to avoid the comments at school that would make me uncomfortable. I’m no longer the middle schooler on Twitter with 17,000 followers, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist in me. On Twitter, I feel like myself. I use it mainly to communicate with my friends, as a political platform, and to post everything I write online. I occasionally tweet at celebrities, but I’m no longer a professional fangirl. I would say that on Twitter, I’m mostly a friend, a fan, or a has-been. Those parts of me are all still parts of me.
I got an Instagram my freshman year of high school. I used to post every day, but now I just post when I feel like it. On Instagram, I am more than myself. I am my personal account, my “finstagram”, LMU Greek Light, and my blog. Yes, I have four Instagram accounts. Instagram is the most frustrating of all the social medias because people complain about it the most. I got in a fight with someone important last week about Instagram because he feels like I’m not myself on the platform. It drives me crazy. I hate it when people say things like that because it honestly hurts my feelings to think that someone wants to control me that much, saying who I can and can’t be. On Instagram I am organizations and three different parts of myself. But I am entirely myself. I don’t put on a front for people and if it seems like do, I’m probably not doing it for them. I’m doing it for me.
I got a LinkedIn in September. I hate LinkedIn. I hate the set up, the notifications, and that I’m constantly told that I need one in order to be in the professional world. I get why it’s important, but I wish I didn’t need one. However, I’m still myself. I post about things I’m doing, I’ve done, and what I want to do. I’m always myself, just only a specific part. On LinkedIn, I am a college student. I am an employee, a past employee, and a potential candidate. All of them are myself.
I started my blog two and a half years ago. On my blog, Brisk Ambition (formerly known as Tower of Eza), I’m probably the most authentic and holistic version of myself. I’m in pain, excited, thinking, planning, expressing, writing, and so much more all the time. I post unfiltered thoughts and experiences without shame or sensors (unless I’m protecting someone’s identity). My blog is entirely me. I type as if I’m talking to someone, but if I’m going to be honest, I’m most likely talking to myself. My blog is very important to me and a place where I feel very safe because it’s entirely mine without comments, without likes, without any negative energy. On Brisk Ambition I am an author, a photographer, and someone who’s learning constantly.
I appreciate social media and the entire place that is “online”, but I understand why we have discussions about authenticity, motives, and what it really represents. It just frustrates me because I feel like I’m being authentic, so when people question it, I get a headache. Whether or not I’m one person or many people online is for no one to determine. Even if I did seem like a different person online, that doesn’t mean that that version of myself is any less legitimate that who I am in real life.