ROLES WE PLAY ON SOCIAL MDIA


In another blog I discussed the concept of “face” in social media. In that blog, I discussed the notionthe desire to be appreciated and approved (positive face) and the desire not to be imposed upon(native face). I also talked about face threatening acts and self-disclosure.

I continue the topic on how we “project” ourselves on social media through the roles we play.

I have through the course of observation, come up with several which I will describe below. This is not to put my personal bias for or against what people post online, but in this piece, I am only making sense of the types of posts I frequently come across that reflect how people want others to see them as.

  • Food and Beverage connoisseur – people who are probably regular diners, documenting how delicious or appalling the dish or drink is, or a person who had cooked something and would like to share the recipe, the presentation or just to shout out about their latest creations. Photos are enticing and presented well.

  • The Travel Guide – people who post images of places they have been to, showcasing areas of interest, or aspects of the area visited which interested them. This includes photos of them in the place (and not just taking photos of the place itself), or doing things in the place such as swimming, biking, camping, mingling with the locals, etc.

  • The Magic Mirror – people who often take “selfies” of themselves, with or without a particular reference to what is being discussed about the post, or with or without reference to the place, situation or context they are in.

  • The advocate – people who use social media to put forward their personal agendas,whether these are political agendas for or against an ideology or philosophy; spiritual or religious affiliations or beliefs, including sharing quotes and religious passages that reflect their faith, their mood or their current state.

  • The Entrepreneur – people who advertise themselves for their professional/personal services, the products that they sell or businesses they are affiliated with.

  • The advertiser – people who endorse products and services that they love, or consumed or rate, or recommend. This include posting about other brands and businesses.

  • The Expert – people who share their opinions on matters making them seemingly an expert,e.g. by offering advice, or as a function of their true skills or expertise.

  • Online Diary Storyteller – people who are not embarrassed to share too much information about themselves, detailing their everyday activities, including events in their lives that are not necessarily shareable are shared. This is an “over-extension” of themselves, pushing to be relevant by sharing even the most intimate of details (e.g. when they brushed their teeth,time they woke up, how much pain they felt, why they are so lonely, etc.)

  • Emotion-o- meter – overly happy about something? Share! Overly depressed or angry about something? Share! Had a recent victory or success? Share! There is nothing wrong with sharing one’s success, or failure, or emotional state. In fact all social media channels encourage this through emojis or emoticons, and because social media is designed to be a shareable medium. However, there is just a certain level which can be tolerable. Anything overly shared may come across as getting over personal boundaries and can be quite annoying for some people.There could be other classifications out there, but one thing is for sure, being social in social media is certainly anyone’s game. And we participate in the online world, we do have to stop and think once in a while of who we are projecting ourselves to be, and whether this is becoming to be a reflection of our true selves outside of the digital realm.