Most people are familiar with online gaming, such as PUBG, Pokémon, Angry Birds, Fortnite Battle Royale, etc. I see many similarities in the game identities and approach with social media. Notably the ‘hook’ – once you roll, you are not able to stop. When you create your online persona, you become compelled to be an established player in the community. The comparison is not a new one, but I want to emphasize that it is very valid. Unless you are well aware of online gaming’s impact on self-worth, you may not realize the similar lure of social media. The following study by Angela Cirucci, ‘Comparing social Media and Video Game Identities,’ has useful insights to this area.
What should you be aware of when developing your self-esteem?
Awaken your genuine self-esteem
When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.
~ Jodi Picoult, Change of Heart
Social media and mobile online lives have their pros and cons, but we can all see online profiles are here to stay. Some areas are hard to predict – as an example, the increase of spamming, misunderstandings, stigmas, stereotyping, bullying, and scams. However, online communities are precious, and social media bridges distances and time-zones, and communication preferences.
When I think back my years with chronic illnesses, I never underestimate the power of connecting with people and nature. Social media is a means of communication, it is not the defining factor – it is a tool, it can empower you, but it is not ‘you.’ To have a strong identity, you have to step through the looking glass and face the world outside. If you don’t, you will never find real accomplishment, happiness, or be content with yourself.
Some years ago I had to spend seven months without practically any electronic media, TV included. Our nervous system is extremely complex and delicate. When our body is under duress, an online presence can offer solace, but it can also be too much for our physique.
In the end, balance is the only thing that matters. Your mind can overpower your body – it will always try to push you further. You need to listen to your physiological needs. Be kind to yourself and others. People want to help you by encouraging you to be creative and engaging online to keep achieving. You are the only judge and jury of how much time you spend online and feel the correct balance. I can tell you that no one wants to spend an evening outside talking to a person they have not seen in five years, to watch them chat online.
You cannot truly appreciate nature without going outside and seeing the wonders of Mother Earth. Nor can you understand the communication without face-to-face interaction. My challenge to you is: build up your self-esteem with and without a digital online identity. I did. I had to. And it made me a thousand times stronger.
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.
~ Harvey Fierstein
- BizCatalyst360: Mirror, Mirror – The Other Side of Social Media ǀ https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/mirror-mirror-the-other-side-of-social-media/
- SmartInsights: Global social media research summary 2019 ǀ https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/
- Buffer: 10 Free Tools to Help You Understand Your Social Media Audience ǀ https://buffer.com/resources/social-media-audience
- Wikipedia: PUBG ǀ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayerUnknown%27s_Battlegrounds
- Wikipedia: Pokémon ǀ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon
- Android Central: Angry Birds ǀ https://www.androidcentral.com/best-android-games
- Wikipedia: Fortnite ǀ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortnite
- Angela Cirucci: http://www.angelacirucci.com/
- Angela Cirucci.com: Comparing social Media and Video Game Identities ǀ http://www.angelacirucci.com/documents/Cirucci-ComparingSocialMediaandVideoGameIdentities.pdf