Our profiles are where we spend most time when we first create a social media account. Chapter 2 of The Psychology of Social Media is about we express our identities in them.
It begins with a case study of the ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ hoax, and what that tells us about honestly expressing oneself online. The structure of profiles is critical, as differences in customisation between social media services produce different levels of fakery. Hence, it may seem easier to implicitly display our identities by association, rather than explicitly describing ourselves in words: ‘show rather than tell’.
As a result, this chapter also explores how we can experience feelings of inauthenticity if we put too much work into trying to express ourselves accurately. This leads to a discussion of the privacy paradox: where social media users profess themselves to be concerned with privacy issues yet post considerable amounts of personal information to their profiles.
Consequently, this chapter explores how we may also find it easier to use temporary accounts or anonymous social media services with no profiles at all.