Last year, I embarked on a five-month trip around the world, leaving me addicted to travelling and surrounding my life around it. When I’m not travelling, I’m planning my next trips by reading blog posts, watching YouTube videos and following travel instagram accounts. I believe that this trip had a huge part in creating my online identity, and has transformed my online persona on Instagram, Facebook, and my blog, to becoming travel-oriented. It was as though I finally found an interest that I was passionate about and wanted to share it with the people around me to inspire them to travel the world and discover these amazing places, just like I did. I feel that by sharing my photos of travel on Instagram, people would be inspired and interested in where these places are. By starting my blog, I have also found a love for writing about my own experiences in different countries and to share with the world.
Already, I have had an unbelievable amount of people message me about certain places I have posted photos at, asking me for advice on what to do and where to go in these countries. It amazes me that from photos I have posted, people are planning trips to these countries and are asking me for advice. Which is what has led me to creating this travel blog to talk about my experiences, and what to do in countries, so that more and more people can get the same advice that I would give them in a message.
MY ONLINE PRESENCE
Instagram allows me to share certain images that convey a message, and a theme. For me, it reflects my light-hearted personality, my love for the beach, and travel. I display my social life, through posting photos of myself smiling and having fun, I am only showing a specific part of my life, and therefore creating an online identity that isn’t quite my whole self.
As seen through Professor David Marshall’s article ‘The promotion and presentation of the self’, he states that “Social networking can reveal the private self, but in its design it has the potential of complete revelation to a wider public world” (Marshall, 2010).
Supporting Marshall’s ideas, I believe that even though I am not displaying my whole authentic self through instagram, I’m not being any less real or authentic. If I posted photos that weren’t related to my theme of travel, social life, and fitness, it would be irrelevant to the idea I am trying to convey.
Social media has many incredible benefits that makes it so amazing. Throughout my travels I met so many friends and inspiring people, who I am lucky enough that I can still stay in contact with, even though they live on the other side of the world, through Instagram, Facebook messenger and Snapchat. I met one of my best friends India from England, in Los Angeles and only spent one day together last year, and through staying in contact using Instagram and Facebook, she came over in December and stayed with my family for a month over Christmas. Whereas 15 years ago, it would have been much harder to keep in contact with those living in different states and countries.
Social media plays a significant role in my life and is continuing to grow and develop, as twitter has just become apart of my online presence. My twitter online identity is quite different to that of my instagram identity, as it is a lot more casual, with photos and my everyday thoughts.
Marshall emphasises the idea that there are 3 different levels of self presentation. The first being the “public self” which I believe that my instagram reflects, where I am only showing a certain amount of content of my identity which is related to what people want to see and a more public persona. The second level of self presentation is “public private self” which I would consider to be my twitter platform. (Marshall, 2010).
My twitter identity is posting my thoughts and what is on my mind in the moment, talking about an issue on the news, a TV show I have just watched, or even that it is a nice day outside. This allows others to see a different side of my online persona, not so focused around the ideas of travel, but more around my everyday life.
Despite the fact that social media plays a huge role in today’s society, there is still a negative stigma surrounding social media, and being online is often frowned upon. Fleur Gabriels article talks about the ideas that social media can negatively affect the development of youth in today’s society, as they are forced to conform to online social norms. Through creating an online identity, Gabriel explains the concerns of “the possibility that social media absorption is creating a generation of ethically degenerate careless zombies” (Gabriel, 2014).
Gabriel also addresses that there is a “popular conception that social media engagement is harmful to young people in the process of self-development.” (Gabriel, 2014).
We live in a world where social media has developed to be a significant part of our everyday lives, and if we continue to disregard this, we simply won’t be able to embrace the benefits and advantages that it adds to our lives. How can we possibly grow as a society if we aren’t willing to accept that social media is a positive platform that we are fortunate enough to have in our lives?
Through my experience with different social media platforms, I have been able to create an online identity that reflects a part of me that I want to share with the world. I am lucky enough to have found a strong passion for travel, allowing me to create an online identity surrounding that idea. Through both Twitter and Instagram, I have two very different online presences, however both of these are my true self and reflect my identity in different ways.
Marshall D 2010, The promotion and presentation of the self: Celebrity as marker of presentation media, retrieved 13 April 2019, Ebook Library database.
Gabriel, F. (2014) ‘Sexting, Selfies and Self-Harm: Young People, Social Media and the Performance of Self-Development’, Media International Australia, 151(1), pp. 104–112. Retrieved 13 April 2019, Ebook Library database.