People are complicated, and if you asked me to sum up what I was about in a sentence, I couldn’t do it. Although we try, check your Twitter bio for example.
Just as you are as multi-faceted in real life, so must you be online. You wouldn’t speak with your friends the same way as you do with your boss for example.
You probably utilise different platforms for different representations of yourself subconsciously. The medium is the message – don’t go against the grain of the platform (or use this guide as what to do to go against it, whatever works)
Here’s a quick round-up of how I see different platforms as masks to represent varying personas. Audio version here if you’d prefer to listen to my silky online persona.
DISCLAIMER – I’m not an expert, and this is how I view things, feel free to tell me how you roll in the comments
OK, so this one’s probably pretty obvious, you’ve been using it for a long time. Facebook is kind of a base platform for contact with people you know IRL. Ideally in my opinion, you present a relatively respectable version of yourself, but also relaxed. This is you to your friends and family, but also employers etc. Put up some photos that make you look like a decent enough person, and leave a few of those ‘less perfect’ photos that make you come across as a real person – perfect people on the internet set off red flags because perfect people don’t exist.
Don’t go overboard on meme pages or spammy stuff. Facebook is 90% recycled content anyway, get it from somewhere fresh.
Rule of thumb – don’t put anything on there your grandma would be upset about, because she will see it. Trust me, her friends list is probably small enough to get notifications about everything you do.
Here is a good place to build up a really unrealistic and a e s t h e t i c depiction of yourself. Instagram is all visual, so you must focus on this too. You know those meticulously planned selfies and those travel pics you still have lying around? Deliberate on which ones fit the colour scheme and general theme of your profile and spend hours photoshopping them to perfection. Then transfer them back to your phone, upload em and pretend you didn’t put any effort in.
Protip – If you’re uploading anything naughty or incriminating, use two different profiles, one public and one private, shared only with those you want. Name it with an inside joke so only a few can trace it back to you.
Ever wanted people to be jealous of your life? (of course you have)
This is your highlight reel. Anytime you do something interesting, get a snap. Your Snapchat persona should be fun, exciting and right in the centre of the action. This is also a great place to put your drunk escapades, because of the whole ‘temporary’ ideology Snapchat built itself around, at the very least you’ll know who screenshotted that nudie run. Probably the best place to be informal.
Please don’t upload more than 20 seconds of the concert you’re at, it’s annoying.
Twitter is pretty flexible on what you want to present to the world. It’s character limit makes it the ideal place for sharing random, Jaden Smith-like musings, or making memes. On a more professional level, this is a place to share interesting content and act like you are an informed, smart individual if you so please. Just remember that even though tweets are short and often thoughtless, they hang around and people can dig them up, to analyse your persona – particularly employers (its scarily accurate too)
Protip – Interact with other people and promote everyone’s successes or you will look really self absorbed
It goes without saying, act professional and smart – this ones basically an online resume. Share some relevant sounding articles on occasion but don’t bother reading them because this persona is about as fake as your Instagram lets face it.
Rule of thumb – Don’t post anything that will limit your career opportunities, if graduate employers are going to look anywhere, its here
Unless you’re a celebrity, you don’t need to have your name attached to this account. Have fun with it, and do whatever you want. Add to your IRL credibility by building a presence on specialised subreddits that interest you. Or shitpost. Or make multiple accounts and do both – noone has to know its the same person, right?
Protip – Make sure check which account you are logged into, or you might ruin one of your online personas (or worse case ruin one that’s linked to the rest of your online presence)
It’s not an exhaustive list, so if you have other masks you wear online, chuck em in the comments.