The creation of our Facebook personality begins with choosing a profile picture – a visual statement of how we’d like the world to see us. We then build a profile around this image, adding our relationship status, our family background, our favorite quotes, favorite songs and favorite movies. Then all of a sudden – the pressure is on! Do I share that I really like watching bad 80’s movies or should I post that I only watch intelligent documentaries? Should I share that my kids drive me insane to the point of developing a serious chocolate addiction or should I post happy pictures of all of us at my kid’s soccer practice? Creating your profile is like re-imaging yourself. For many of us, who we want to be is who we end up presenting to the Facebook world.
From this moment forward, many people start to interact with others on Facebook through it, as if they are their profile. For most people this isn’t difficult, since the identity they’ve built is (for the most part) accurate when compared to how they present themselves in real life. Others, however, see creating a profile as an opportunity to exaggerate their qualities and accomplishments, cherry-picking what photos and activities are posted so as to present themselves in the best possible light. Our profile picture, for example, is supposed to represent who we are, but “who we are” – or more to the point, what we look like – can change significantly over time. Do I post a recent profile picture or one from five years ago when I was ten pounds thinner but had really bad hair? Which “me” is really more me?