Recently, I tuned into a 1A segment on NPR about identity and social media. This particular program was about President Trump and his use of Twitter as a communication tool. Spoiler alert: While I reference the president and his tweets, this is NOT a political post. It is a post on how identity gets communicated and therefore, perceived in our socialsphere.
Before we jump into the program, consider your own social media use. Whether you are a Facebook fanatic, Tweetheart or Instagram shutterbug, how do you communicate about yourself? Your profession? How do you interact and engage with others?
Social media persona
The guests on the show consisted of a digital strategist, a higher education professor and a member of the media. The panel discussed the tonality differences between the @realDonaldTrump handle and the @POTUS handle. The former covering a spectrum of topics with many tones; the latter covering White House updates with an informational tone.
The panelists also mentioned the differences in the types of tweets sent from @realDonaldTrump. The inflection varied, pending the type of phone used. This level of analysis and the noticeable distinctions of voice fascinated me. By the end of the program, the consensus was President Trump tweets from @POTUS on an Android. A staff member tweets from @POTUS on an iPhone.
The analysis caused me to think about identity construction and communication of ‘self’ on social media. In other words, what we say – and how we say it – influences how others perceive and receive us. When our voice varies, it can cause fans and followers to question our persona on social media.
1A program host Joshua Johnson, also asked the panel for their thoughts on the ‘best’ way to communicate on social media. Not surprising, the responses varied. One panel member said be authentic. Another believed professional yet personal was ideal. The third panel member balked at both responses and replied, “Are you kidding me!?!?” She claimed we only put forward what we want others to know. We filter what we share and as a result, we craft what others think of us.
Again, the analysis caused me to think about identity and our communication of ‘self’ on social media. If a change in tonality can raise questions, what about when we filter and self-select our messages, posts and photos?
So now your truth. How would you describe your identity on social media? What voice do you use when you communicate? I welcome all via the comments section on the blog.