Before I started school, I wouldn’t consider myself having an established digital identity. I had what all the typical teens had: Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. I used these platforms quite often, and tried to represent myself in the best light possible. I think that is something that plagues my generation and many others. We only share the best parts of our lives and hide away our real life.
For me, this was the biggest struggle. I am growing up with people always around me who are on their phones or at least always have their phones on them. In some sense, I was forced to have a digital identity otherwise I wouldn’t fit in. So I established myself, and rather unsuccessfully. I say this because another problem that my generation faces is the value of “likes.” We are beginning to value our self-worth through the number of likes that one gets. I would scroll through Instagram and see one of my peers get over one hundred likes on their picture. I remember struggling with the question of why I never got over a hundred likes. Was there something wrong with me? Did nobody like me? These sort of question plagued me whenever I would post anywhere online.
However, as I got older, I realized that the number of likes I get doesn’t really matter. The amount of hearts or thumbs-up I receive do not change who I am. I had to remove myself from this digital identity that I created for myself. And while the number of likes doesn’t bother as much, if I’m being honest, it still affects me.
Most people my age would say that they love social media and how easily to connects us with friends. While this is true, I think that we are all hiding from the fact of how negatively social media has affected us. It’s too often that my friends ask if their picture is “instagramable” (which means if it is good enough to post) or fret over the number of likes they got on their most recent post.
I am grateful for my participation in DigPins to show me that social media doesn’t have to be scary! It doesn’t have to be this platform in which I hesitate about every post or comment I make. The internet doesn’t have to be a scary place, and that is what I’ve learned so far this week.