In both David Buckingham and Sherry Turkle’s books, they all discuss about identity change dramatically in adolescence period because that is the time people started to form their personalities and expand relationships. David’s psychological approach did mention about Erikson’s statement about adolescence as a critical ‘identity crisis’, which individuals may experience influence from peers, surroundings and become more self-aware and they began to face life’s decisions as well as certain crisis. Therefore, they can decide to make choices of whom they want to become. While Turkle is keen on technological development that plays a crucial role in defining identities. She believes modern technologies, mobile phone to be more precise, has greatly contributed to change identities from being present to being absent and vice versa. People tend to present themselves more on social media sites with full personal information description, status and daily pictures. On the other hand, Turkle also mentioned we gradually lose our presence in real life as people are now busy with their phones although they are sitting next to each other.

Nowadays, thanks to advanced technologies, especially social media, people have more chances to present themselves more via online community forums. However, they also started to lose a sense of themselves and identities became baffled more than ever. We often thought that we can be in our true selves but we ended up turning into someone else online and offline. For example, on Twitter, we talk and share more and more on personal page or argue passionately about something interesting; on Snapchat we often post funny, crazy daily pictures without hesitation; but on Facebook where we usually connect with parents, relatives and maybe colleagues from workplace, we tend to keep quiet and involve in formal talks. In real life, in school, we are seen as studious, serious, interactive and participative in class. In front of our friends, we release ourselves and feel free to say whatever we want, however, when we’re alone, we show a completely new character. Or simply, we have different identities before strangers/people we just met compared to acquaintances and close friends. To sum up, different sites, different audiences, different purposes and depending on under which circumstances or whom we met, people will perform appropriate identities.

It is normal when one person holds many identities for many reasons. Dorian Wiszniewski and Richard Coyne emphasised on a new concept of ‘masking identity’, regarding to online identity. This mask helps one person to hide their personal information or even gives out false identity online. The concept resulted from the fear and lack of self-esteem of users who are afraid to show themselves on the Internet but still want to be on the same global online platforms. These people are more likely to be scared of abuse, hackers, offenses, stalking, etc. or simply, they just want to be safe amongst the hidden threats and crime of cyber world. Who knows what is lurking out there, when authenticity is not ensured?

In my opinion, people choose to have more than one identities as a result of different factors and they should be like that. I establish my identities mostly based on geographical, social and cultural influences. I change my identities over time in order to handle different situations in life. I wear a mask on social media to protect myself but show (kind of) realness in real life.

Advertisements