Sunday, November 13, 2016

Virtual Molly

Social media is an enormous part of modern-day human culture. According to statistics, approximately seventy-eight percent of Americans have at least one social media profile. This may not be a surprising statistic to you, but if seventy-eight percent of Americans have social media profiles, that means that seventy-eight percent of Americans have "virtual selves." In the context of social media, a "virtual self" is how one expresses his or herself on his or her social media platform.

I am not embarrassed to admit that social media is an important part of my life. I am considerably active on multiple platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and VSCO. Although an avid user, promoter, and lover of social media, I think that a virtual self cannot fully exemplify the person it is attempting to express digitally.

I use Instagram frequently, and scroll through my newfeed multiple times a day. I actually control a total of four Instagram accounts: a personal account, Humans of Johnstown (inspired by Humans of New York), a poetry account, and an account for my cat. Out of the four accounts, I am most active on my personal account.

I tend to post pictures of the world around me (with or without me included in the picture) on my personal account. It may be a picture of food, coffee, a sign, street art, or anything that really captures my eye and makes me want to take a picture of it. This is where I express the things I see, and attempt to capture meaning within them. I am interested in photography, and have found that Instagram is my favorite social media platform. I also use VSCO to post photos I take as well, for the same reasons. 

Posted picture from Instagram account
I post the most on my Twitter account. I use Twitter, especially when I am really tired and feel no shame, to express my stream of consciousness. On this platform, I tend to post, or "tweet", multiple times a day. My tweets are, in a sense, random. I may make a political statement one minute, and tweet a meme from The Office the next minute. I have looked back at past tweets, realized that I have tweeted ten different tweets regarding ten different subject matters within a span of five minutes or less. I also tend to retweet anything I find to be funny, sad, or interesting in any way. I don't consciously "watch" how much I tweet; I have been told that I tweet and retweet a lot more than people deem "normal". 

Avi makes me wanna drink tea & destroy the patriarchy
Actually, I always wanna drink tea and destroy the patriarchy

I use my Facebook account frequently as well. I am on it every day, and tend to post, as well as share posts, a few times a day. My posts and shares are mainly political (especially within the past year). I engage in political debates on Facebook, and have learned a lot about my beliefs in the process. I also post pictures that I have posted on Instagram, and have used it as a way to connect with family members that live further away. 
Current Facebook profile picture (due to outcome of Election)

Virtual Molly and human Molly have a lot in common. Virtual Molly possesses all the traits human Molly possesses, but human Molly is much more complex than virtual Molly. Using social media as a form of self-expression is possible, but people choose what they want to express. Human Molly may have had the worst day of her life, but if she chooses not to post about her day and sorrow on her social media platforms, virtual Molly had an okay day. 

Virtual Molly consists of a lot of pictures of coffee, political statements, and memes, but human Molly consists of a whole lot more than that. While social media and "virtual selves" can portray a lot about human character, it cannot completely display every aspect of what makes a person who they are. It's an interesting concept, and while technology continues to advance, "virtual selves" will continue to advance as well.

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