“I firmly believe that every human being is almost infinitely complex,” my English 300 professor stated to our class, before elaborating further. He went on to say that it’s impossible to ever completely know another person. This is because we are all constantly evolving and changing, emphasizing or deemphasizing different facets of our personalities depending on our environment or present company. Basically, your grandmother knows a very different version of you than your best friends do, who know a very different version of you than the boy from whom you expect a text on most Saturday nights. My professor meant his lecture more consequentially, but whatever, because this concept also applies quite solidly to social media.
Most people in their late teens and early twenties have created pretty defined presences on the various social media that they use. You have probably even checked Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat at least once or twice since waking up this morning. Maybe it was a slow news day on your various feeds, and you’ve had to hit up Tumblr or Pinterest as well. Barring those annoying people who post the same exact things on every single site for reasons literally unknown to me (your Facebook friends liking your picture doesn’t affect your like-ratio on Insta whatsoever, why are you making me look at the same picture and caption in three different places?), most of us post different things to different sites, because certain content does better on some sites than others. There is a time or a place for that cute picture of you in a bikini dancing on a bar in Cabo, but that place is not Facebook for all your geriatric, super religious relatives to see. After all, even Mary Magdalene refrained from dropping f-bombs in the temple.
Most of this country’s population is on Facebook. This makes Facebook the family gathering of social media. The way people present themselves here is akin to the way they act at Easter brunch. Aside from the ten or twenty people you keep on your friend list purely for their entertainment value, most of your friends post only the most clean-cut version of themselves. The biggest blackout of your chapter wouldn’t be caught dead posting a picture of herself hung over a toilet for fear that her great aunt might see it (should she ever figure out how to actually log onto her account). You’ve heard threats of your future employers scouring your wall for red solos and sloppy DFMs enough times to realize that you should stick to humble-bragging to your 800 closest friends about the prestigious D.C. summer internship that you just landed. And in 2016 you’d never post a status about the shambles that Saturday night has left you in. You save that for…
Twitter, which is my own personal favorite. Once the initial kinks on Twitter were worked out, most people stopped constantly subtweeting their ex-boyfriends and posting about what they had for dinner, and realized that they could actually be funny on Twitter. One hundred and forty characters makes Twitter the perfect outlet to dish something bitchy or hilarious. While a thinly-veiled alcohol reference on Facebook can get you sent to Standards, Sunday morning Twitter is literally full of hungover bitches live-tweeting their Pedialyte consumption and brunch antics.
If the main goal of Twitter is to be funny and culturally relevant, the main goal of Instagram is to look as hot and fab as possible. I don’t care who you are, your Instagram is chock full of what you think people will like. In the grand scheme of social media, Instagram is like a first date. You do everything in your power to put your best foot forward. Facetune and filters help you to cover up your crazy, and the double chin that you get when you tilt your head too far to the left. Instagram portrays the you that loves brunch and hangs out at farmers’ markets on Saturday mornings, while hiding the side of you that drinks too much tequila and ends up in your ex’s bed for the third time in two months. Instagram airbrushes our lives, and for that we are grateful. Because when we feel like letting it all hang out, all we have to do is open up Snapchat.
Snapchat is the slutty, ugly cousin of the other social media outlets. For the most part, you use Snap for two purposes, and two alone. Either you’re trying to impress the hot guy in your Poli Sci class with how laid back, yet subtly sexy you can look at 9AM (after you’ve showered and put on a full face of makeup, of course) or you’re showing your friends that you can actually give yourself five double chins if you push your face into your neck so hard that you almost get stuck that way. Yikes. Snapchat is kind of like the garbage can of social media. Most people use it with reckless abandon because even the worst damage disappears into cyber space in ten seconds or less. Plus, it’s the social media that you have the least amount of friends on, unless you’re Kylie Jenner, so it’s totally fine to block your Standards chair without her ever having a clue.
It’s not multiple personality disorder if everyone is doing it, right?.