For most of my life, I did not really care or understand my digital identity. I started to care about social media and also my life online about my junior year of high school. Growing up, I lived in the country and had basically no internet, I didn’t have a phone until 13 and I didn’t have a smartphone until sophomore year. Sure, I grew up with technology more than my parents, but it didn’t really control my life like some children today.
In my life, I feel like each major social media I use has a different and distinct purpose. The main ones I use are Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook. I scroll through Instagram the most because I enjoy pictures the most. However, sometimes it can be hard to realize that everyone only puts the best parts of their lives online, and it’s not an accurate representation of their life. My main use of Snapchat is to message people and groups. Facebook is mainly used if I want to connect to my family because they are the majority of my “friends” on Facebook.
The social media platform I use in what I would call the weirdest way is Twitter. I don’t think I have ever actually tweeted anything, I only like things and scroll through my feed. For me, Twitter tends to be the most real platform. I have found that the majority of people on Twitter actually share their life stories and the bad parts of their life alongside the good parts, instead of only the perfect aspects.
The easiest and hardest site for me to post on is my own blog. I have a decently normal and boring life compared to many others. I always feel like there has to be an exciting event or reason for me to post on my blog and that past few months my life has been very boring and bland. The other difference with my blog is I never know who will read the posts. I share the posts through my Facebook, so most of the people reading them are my family, but it is out on the internet for anyone to see. Writing for such a broad audience is definitely the hardest part about having a blog.
Over the past couple of years, I have also realized how ridiculously careful I have to be online because of what I post, but especially because of the posts of others. I have heard many stories of those whose careers and lives have been basically ruined because of one picture or post online. Scrolling through social media on the weekends, I see so many posts of people at parties and drinking and I can’t imagine if something would happen if I was in that position. I have worked so hard for my education my entire life and I don’t know what I would ever do if that was all thrown away.
One of the activities this week for the Digital Identity week was to create a Visitor and Resident map of the different social media I use. Here is my Visitor and Resident Map
Here is the explanation of each of the social media and technologies I have listed (from left to right):
- Searching- I almost always know what I am looking for when I google search something and rarely ever go to the second page of results
- Email- I only send emails to individuals or very small groups of people. I mainly use email for school, some personal emails
- Snapchat- I mainly use Snapchat to message individuals or small groups of people. I very rarely post on my story for all of my friends to see
- Google drive- Mostly I use google drive for school, mainly writing papers. If anything is shared it is usually in a group of very few or for a class presentation
- Facebook- I am mainly Facebook friends with friends and family, however a lot of pictures you can see by just searching my profile and not even being my friend
- Twitter- Twitter was the hardest box to place. I really only go on twitter to look at what other people post and never really post anything of my own ideas
- Instagram- Instagram is one of the most social platforms that I use and up until college my entire profile was public for anyone to see and react to my posts
- Texting- Texting for me is very much targeted social activity and very personal activity.
- My Domain- This platform is the most social of all of the others I use. When you google my name, it is one of the very first items that appear
Overall, I have realized over the past year or so how addicting social media can be. About six months ago, I took a weekend break from (most) social media and I found it to be incredibly freeing. However, I have realized that I am so connected to my phone and social media and it is incredibly hard to give it up for even a few hours. I hope that I can give up social media for a bit because it has also taught me how toxic social media can be, especially Instagram due to the comparison of how one person’s life compared to mine.