Social media, Geography and Self

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I’ve had the luxury of recently spending some time in a relatively small country town. My brother-in-law and his family have been very kind to host my family and I for a few days in their gorgeous home overlooking a country vista. The children have loved spending their days playing with the dog, roughing up the chooks, collecting eggs and getting water-logged in the pool!

My hosts have lived in this area for quite some years, and, by all accounts, know and are known by many in town.

The massive proliferation of social media has seen the globalisation of community, which essentially makes me think about the nature of ‘self’. The Onion satirises the perfect ‘facebook’ family, and it can be easy to get slightly envious of seeing others ‘picture perfect’ lives on social media.

I don’t think it is uncommon for an individual to have difference ‘personalities’ on social media. For me, I’m on Facebook, Instagram as well as this blog. On each of these, I’m slightly different. My instagram is stacked with photos of my beautiful children, things I love and things I’ve drunk. My facebook jots random thoughts and chronicles random Friday night happenings. My blog is where I put to words some of my deeper musings in life. I am the same, but slightly different.

I suspect it could be quite easy for one to either project a completely different ‘self’ online, or even fabricate their existence all together on social medial.

Getting back to this country town, I was amazed to see how close my brother-in-laws social circles were. He played football with guys he worked with, traded with, drunk with. The wives met together, chatted together, met at the school together. I compare this to my life in the city. I work in town. My church friends will rarely come across my social friends. My work colleagues will never come across either of those circles.

Essentially, I could be the same or completely different in these different circles, without any major ramifications or affect on each other, due to the geographical and social distance between the groups. This is compared to my brother-in-law, who’s circles are all very closely linked. If you have a bad reputation in one circle, it’s going to very quickly flow into all other circles, due to the close geographical proximity.

What I’m interested in knowing is if people find their ‘selves’ more congruent when their circles or communities are more closely linked geographically.

Tell me – do you differ (or not differ) in your projection of ‘self’, depending on the community you are in?

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6 comments

  1. paulfg

    Interesting observation. As a “different circles” chap, I never thought I was “different”, but can raise/share different things in different circles. Family is family is “doing things/common history and pics”, blogging is “spiritual stuff and learning/sharing”, social circle is “different moods/stories of each/together”. Never thought about it that way before.

  2. ianmooremorrans

    I think, like you, that I’m only slightly different depending on the circle I’m in.I try to stay true to my own beliefs and sense of responsibility. It also depends on the people with whom I’m in contact in each social circle. On Facebook, my contacts are mostly family, old and new friends whom I like to share life’s events and my thoughts and inspirations with. On our website, I mostly share things having to do with my husband’s writing, my editing and our publishing efforts. On LinkedIn, I share mostly our writing, publishing, career and educational backgrounds. I haven’t got into Twitter yet – just don’t have any more time. As far as social life in our medium-sized town, I have several musical circles where most others in the circle only know that I sing or play an instrument with them, except for a few with whom I socialize outside of our musical circles. In my church circle I am very involved and have opportunities to share of myself and my beliefs, as well as to live out my life for others in caring and helpful ways. Keeping up with my immediate family (i.e., my son, daughter and grandchildren) is mostly only possible through Facetime on my I-pad and their I-phones as they live in two different countries me. I’m in Canada, my son is in California and my daughter and grandchildren in Norway. I occasionally get to visit them, but Facetime keeps us connected on a weekly basis. Thank God for that modern convenience!
    Gayle Moore-Morrans

  3. ptero9

    I think there is difference in we perceive others, not because we attempt to chow a different face, but because the nature of the engagement reflects different aspects of ourselves.

    Twitter only allows short little one-line messages. Facebook, allows convesations, but they are very public because your friends and friend of friends can all participate. It feels very public to me. WordPress, or any blogging is more like a visit to someone’s house. Posts are longer and more pointed. WordPress attracts people who enjoy writing and being creative with words and pictures. Also, people find each other through common interests, unlike Facebook where friends tend to be collected through work, family, or old friends from your past. That is a very different audience.

    Thank you for following my blog!

    Debra

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