Who am I? Integration and Identity in an Age of a Social Media

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People have always been good at putting on masks and personas to project a certain image to others. There is nothing new about being “two-faced,” as we called it in my generation.

Nevertheless, one disturbing aspect of social media is its ability to create personas that are inherently removed from both those who create and those who observe them.  We no longer need to be two-faced when we can be multi-faced, presenting a seemingly endless number of facades to the world around us.

If I’m young and don’t want my parents to see the “real” profile I have on Instagram or Facebook, for example, it’s easy to create alternative accounts and post a few wholesome pictures every now and then, giving them the impression that I’m actually living a somewhat normal and ostensibly moral life.

One of the great challenges of committed Christian discipleship is living a consistent, reliable, and integrated life.  We should be the same in private as we are in public, and the “face” we show strangers and neighbors should be the same “face” we show ourselves, our family, and our friends. There should be no “skeletons in the closet,” no secrets to remember not to tell, and no multiple and disingenuous personalities portrayed on various social media platforms either.

I fear that if it goes on too long, some will no longer be able to appreciate or understand the importance of being an integrated and consistent person—someone who is the same in public and in private.  Having a set of personalities to create and maintain will begin to seem somehow normal and healthy rather than socially disingenuous, distracting, and debilitating.

In addition, some could lose a true sense of self.  If we are too apt to present and promote various personas to the world, we may end up becoming increasingly ignorant of who we really are.  Aristotle was clear about the need to “know thyself.”  Failure to do so means a failure to flourish in the world as God intended and made us to be and become.

Because of sin, we are already prone to living dissipated and dis-integrated lives, cut off from the One who makes us unified and whole again.  Social media merely makes the opportunities to create and promote alternative versions of ourselves easier and more ubiquitous.

Lord Jesus, save us from ourselves that we might better know and be ourselves through our ever-increasing knowledge of the One who made and truly loves us.

3 thoughts on “Who am I? Integration and Identity in an Age of a Social Media

  1. Drew Fones

    “One of the great challenges of committed Christian discipleship is living a consistent, reliable, and integrated life.” What a great summary of overcoming man’s foibles. Now, to focus on what is reliable…. Darryl Dash, in his “How To Grow” book (Moody Publishers) states that establishing good habits helps here. He states that three core habits are essential, 1) Reading (or listening) to the Bible, 2) Prayer, 3) Pursuing Worship & Fellowship with a local body of believers. The funny thing is, many of us have known this our entire (Christian) lives. It’s not rocket science. I don’t have to have a PhD like Lewis to understand or follow, I just have to do it – to make time to do it consistently.

    Reply
    1. lewinkler Post author

      So true, Drew! It’s the simple and most basic things that often get crowded out by the new and the (supposedly) urgent. Thanks for this good word.

      Reply
  2. Yami Asai

    Thank you for sharing your interesting thought Dr. Lewis. I was not even aware of my addiction on social media until, I have to speak on “Social Media” on one of the youth camps. One thing I realize is that Social Media is an illusion and most of us put up things that we want others to see and seek attentions. Thank you for reminding us to be mindful of who we are as a person.

    Reply

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