As I gaze into my bathroom mirror, I am greeted by a woman staring back at me; I look upon her unchanged reflection and I am reminded of her exterior presence. She embodies the skin tone of a hand-crafted Starbucks vanilla bean Frappuccino; her eyes are so wide and round that you can almost see your reflection, while her hair are the waves in a sea of dark chocolate. If I look at her closely, I can see her wearing the nose given to her by her mother and the expressions within her smile look like that of her father’s. My bathroom mirror reflects an image given off by daily through interactions with the world; it is the voice when no sounds or words are spoken.
In this day and age of social media, the saying, “a picture is worth 1000 words,” has never held more truth; our exterior image is widely spread through the viral universe of social platforms. Each day there are 1.3 billion active Facebook users, 500 million tweets, 60 million Instagram photos uploaded and 4 billion videos viewed on YouTube –which translates to 46,296 per second. These numbers do not even include other rising social platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, or Vine, all of which have the ability to profile our images in a viral form. From a single image which serves as an active representation of oneself, social media has the ability to extrapolate family lineage, personal values, cultural backgrounds and ethics.
In a mere 10 years, we have essentially eliminated the need to meet with someone face-to-face. Gone are the days of highly anticipated coffee shop visits to see the face of a blind date; now we just type their name into a popular browser, and begin to profile him/her by the search engine feeds of social media. Using 3-5 pictures, we are able to summarize the entire lifespan of another. Do you believe that these images are the same reflections that that particular individual sees in his/her mirror? How accurate are the representations of a person on social media? As active social media users, we need to be aware that the images posted can stream both the positives and the negatives for our virtual profile.
The future of social media has begun; we are already experiencing its fated projections. It has intertwined itself into our daily activities, from apps to wearables (Fitbit, Google Glass, Apple Watch) that track our habits, to what will eventually be an array of virtual experience tools that will touch all the surfaces of the human lifestyle.
As social users, it is our right and responsibility to project and control our representations within these social platforms. Whether we acknowledge it or not, our profiles are in an ongoing ever-evolving process of creation and the internet has an in-erasable memory that will outlive us all.
Google yourself and see what the rest of the world sees.