This post is being written for Blogjunta's THE GREAT DEBATERS, season-1, Debate-2.

Before starting off, let me swear to humanity and Whoopie Golderg’s beautiful face, that I am going to be as honest as a mirror here.
[Family-sized Clap]

Confession: Initially, I was quite fickle to choose one side of the topic. But after 3 hours, 54 minutes, and 27 seconds of reflection, contemplation, deliberation, rumination, and meditation, I’ve finally decided to write AGAINST the topic.
[Rock Concert Audience Cheer]

So lets start off!
[Deafening Roar Of 300 Spartan warriors]


What is Social Media?
According to Wikipedia here, Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. So we can consider web-based applications like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and even Blogger to be good examples of Social Media.

Practically Speaking…
It is much easier to be someone you are not on a social platform on the internet than in real life. It is as simple as that. You know it. I know it.
So you want to follow Sachin Tendulkar on twitter. You decide to search for him. As a result, you discover that either Sachin has a hundred twitter profiles, or that you need an eye check up. The same applies for every known celebrity on the planet. However stupid it might seem, people love to be someone else in the virtual world.

Social Media can be dangerous.It is great fun to show-off on social media. But when people upload their personal images, videos and other information without caring too much about privacy, there is a high risk of it being misused. Spammers, hackers, and other immoral people are always on the prowl. Privacy concerns often prevent people from sharing too much about themselves. So being freely ourselves completely, as in uploading our personal images, videos and other information, can be quite dangerous sometimes. So fakers will fake and genuine people will hide. So there is no way that you can differentiate between them and be confident about the physical identity of a person.

There is always a lot of power shoved into the minds of every simple netizen [for Free!]. And as it is perceptible from Indian politics, we know that Power, unless handled with humility will eventually lead to corruption. You don’t have to rob a store and risk being chased by the police to steal a movie DVD. You can just point and click. You only need a finger. Similarly, the internet hands us the power to become whatever we want to be. A 13 year old kid can surpass any “Please-Confirm-That-You-Are-18-Or-Older” checkpoint and a septuagenarian woman can become a teenager flirting with boys the age of her grandchildren. You can call yourself The Xeno and write about all the stupid rubbish no one ever talks about.

The fact is that there is never any solid proof of your true identity on the web. And people love to take full advantage of it.

24 percent of teenagers who were questioned about using different Internet communication tools admitted to pretending to be someone else while online (Globus).

This is the age of the almighty Photoshop. And what you see is not what you get. You can have 21 inch biceps, 6-pack abs, and a Harry Potter lightning scar on your forehead. You can have a fair complexion, curly eyelashes, meticulously designed body dimensions, and multiple piercings on your ear. And all of it can be done so easily. People are so damn gullible nowadays. In my personal life, I’ve had experiences with people who looked 10 times better on the internet.

Sarah Malik relevantly points out in her kick-off post for the debate, that “We tend to pick out the most apt words and present ourselves as a gentle, liberal friendly guy/girl even though our own genuine self maybe poles apart.”

Anthropologists would use the term impression management to describe this phenomenon. People say what they need to say and look how they need to look to fit into social norms. I would openly accept that on a virtual social platform, even my opinions have been altered by others’ thoughts. From time to time I may say I believe something I really do not believe in simply to fit in.

As Paul Tournier rightly points out, “At the heart of personality is the need to feel a sense of being lovable without having to qualify for that acceptance.”

People want to feel accepted and liked by other people. Some say that it is like an escapade from their own unsatisfactory personal lives. Everyone has their own disappointments. Being somebody you aren’t but somebody you’d definitely love to become is mentally satisfying.

Social Media gives us the opportunity to show an altered picture of our own personality. Even clever people often fail to see what lies beyond that rosy picture. It is next to impossible to get to know about a person’s true character just by browsing their profiles on orkut or facebook. All that you can find out is what the person wants to portray and not what he/she truly is. People want to be ‘cool’ and blend into the virtual society. So they depict a picture which people will ‘like’ no matter how un-cool you might be in the real world. People are free to recreate their personality in the virtual community. This situation gives them the perfect opportunity to change the way they portray themselves to others. It is their chance to be someone else they’ve always wanted to be. It is their chance to be ‘liked’ and ‘shared’ and ‘commented’ on.

To conclude, I would say that your personality is who  you are. An identity or personality that has been morphed and exaggerated is a fake identity. It is not something which you can change or portray as you see fit. Social media is a ‘virtual’ entity and it stays at that.

Online personas can never succeed in the transition into the real world, and the same applies vice versa.

[Disclaimer: Its only a debate. No discriminatory or defamatory intentions.]

"We all have an attention seeking behavior of different magnitudes along with a hundred other basic instincts.And depending on the time,place or person we use it smartly.But on many occasions more than discovering ourselves we are happy in inventing a picture of our life to the world the way it wants it to be."
I wholeheartedly support what she says, although the fact remains that she was supposedly speaking FOR the motion. That is exactly what we do on social media. We seek attention, and appreciation. We try to be smart and choose our words depending on the place, time, and situation. We absolutely love to ‘invent’ - and I repeat - ‘invent’ a picture of our life and display it to the world the way we want it to be.

The Fool says,
"We go by looks and clothes and social status. Social media acts as a great equalizer in this regard. People can choose to be known only for their words and thoughts on the social media. Aren’t words and thoughts a greater expression of your personality than your looks and social status?"
I agree that words are always a greater expression of our personality than looks or social status. But the problem in Social Media is that you can even choose your words and present yourself in a way that you want. As Sarah Malik had pointed out in her post – we tend to lose our nerves in real life social situations, then how can we be ourselves in front of the entire world wide web?

Someone Is Special said,

If you speak with a person face to face they may not reveal their true identity but in chat they do reveal who they are and for what they wanna be friends. “Can anyone say no this? Aren’t they revealing their true identity?
I can. First of all, If we speak with a person who does not want to reveal their true identity, it can often be deciphered by their looks. People always reveal a lot through their facial expressions and gestures. Lying face to face is harder than lying through text. And moreover, when you’re talking to someone face to face, he/she will already know a lot more about you (like physical appearance, age, behavior, etc) than what he/she could have known through a virtual platform.
Secondly, text chatting is one of the most gullible forms of social media. And I don’t think too many people like to video chat with people they don’t know. It doesn’t happen so often. But general chatting is very susceptible to deception. Most of us have played that game of logging into someone else’s chat account and pretending to be the person concerned. There is absolutely no way that you can correctly know about the real name, gender, age, location, etc about the person you’re chatting with unless he/she tells you the truth.
And there is more. Imagine yourself chatting with a girl you’ve met over the internet. You kind of like her. She asks you about your height. Considering you’re 5 feet 5 inches tall, wouldn’t you feel the urge to exaggerate it to something like 5 feet 10? Yes, and that, apparently, is a rhetoric!

P.S: If you’re reading this and have not skipped anything above, congratulations, with this kind of attention, you will probably become a nuclear scientist or Salman Rushdie someday. Keep it up.

If you liked my post, Please help me and FAV it here.