Can you be your true self online?

Everyone knows that what we see on social media isn’t always a true representation of people’s lives. We all present and curate an image of ourselves that we want others to see. Even when we’re scrolling though endless snaps of people living their ‘best life’, bantering cleverly about current affairs, or looking glam and glitzy, we know that a lot of it can be fake, filtered or polished: not the real deal.

But then, we know it’s not wise to share everything online either, so how do we keep it real?

We spoke to Jamie, Yasmin, Luxsiya, Maya and Jada about how their online personas differ from real life.

Here’s a recap on how our fab five make social media work for them:

Stay true to yourself

Whilst Jamie admits that who they are online is a more energetic, animated version, they say that the things that they do and say are “coherent with how I am in person.”

Share only what you want

You can share as much or as little of your life as you choose to with your online friends and followers. As Jamie says “some things I will keep private and there are certain relationships I have with people, with my family, that I don't necessarily put online.”

Set your own boundaries

Yasmin uses social media to voice her opinions on politics, but doesn’t enjoy talking about politics much in real life, where sometimes she finds the conversations can get “really boring.” Online, she doesn’t have to get involved in lengthy or boring conversations about politics, but she can still share her views.

Think about who will see it

Yasmin knows that not everything she posts is appropriate for her extended family to see so she manages this through lists. You might be happy for everyone to see everything, but you might not – it’s your choice. You know the people nearest to you and can best judge how they will react.

Think about what you say

Luxsiya says that online she’s “a little less outspoken” because there are “a lot of culture warriors, people putting you down.” She doesn’t always voice her opinion for fear of the backlash.

Yasmin doesn’t bite her tongue, but she does edit herself to make what she says “more accessible.”

You need to be aware that if you express an opinion online, people might disagree with it. Remember, once it’s out there anyone can comment and you might get negative responses too.

Remember, as Maya says, social media is “not real life.” You’re in total control of how much of your authentic self you put online, but you have to be aware that people will respond to what you post – and it might not always be positive. If you don’t want negativity in your life, consider setting boundaries to protect yourself.

For more advice on support on being yourself have a look at our Bitesize Support Identity pages.

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