#OutAndAbout: Of Social Media And Artificial Identities

The internet has enabled us to connect in ways that we couldn’t before. It’s faster, cheaper and it’s the most modern way of communicating, but are people communicating with the real you online? People fall in love online, start businesses and find jobs online.

There is a lot of activity going online; it has enhanced human interaction. This week, out and about talked with some people about their online personas and whether they fit with their general, face to face personalities.

By Pearson Mbendera

Some people are aware of the effects of their online activities and post information that is in line with their overall agenda in life, like Clive Chikuku, who said this about his online activities.

I’m concerned about my image, so I keep my accounts clean and I do not lie online. I’m not worried; my profiles reflect the person I am in actuality. I don’t want my online activities to hurt my career or my relationships.”

With a lot of employers carrying out online background checks while sifting through a list of applicants, one’s online information may hurt of make their career prospects, and when it is incorrect, it might do more harm than good.

With a lot of privacy concerns, many people are wary of the information they post online and who they share it with, putting some security and privacy settings on their  pages so that the information doesn’t get read by the wrong person.

But not all the information people post online is a correct representation of the people they really are, some have online personas that contradict their real life personas.

They don’t even consider it to be lying. When I asked Clara about her Facebook page that showcases her rather glamourous life, she said this about lying online

That’s why people post the best pictures of them and stuff like that, who am I not to do the same?”

But is it not lying and does it even matter? We give out a more positive representation of ourselves out there. We post about parties we enjoyed when we were busy chatting online, the expensive food someone has bought us to portray an image of wealth and high social status, that’s how the game is played or is it?

Some even go ahead to create fake profiles so that they can say things they won’t be able to say in their own name, to stalk some people they want to know more about but can’t quite get close enough because of a fractured history.

“Maintaining healthy relationships is hard enough, and when those relationships are online, with a bunch of strangers, it becomes even harder, and when these people lie, that just makes the whole experience tormenting” Bemoaned a girl who has been lied to consistently by a lot of guys online.

I may not have had a chance of interviewing you, but we would like to hear from you. Is that the real you online, or some fabrication you have created?

Marvelous Chibagidhi

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