Admit it, we’ve all done it. Carefully selecting the perfect Instagram filter, getting just the right pose and going on scenic adventures just to get a good Insta pic. We pick and choose every element of our online presence whether it be intentional or unintentional. This selection and way of presenting ourselves is our online persona, and we show the world only what we want them to see. Masks generally have negative connotations, concealing our true nature and aiding us to be someone we are not. The film “V for Vendetta” for example, shows us that masks can liberate and aid us to fight against oppression. In that scenario, masks are not negative thing at all, instead they provide the courage and identity needed to defend a society in crisis.
The word persona itself derives from the Greek word “prosōpon” meaning face or mask. So it’s safe to say that our personas are in fact our masks. Not to say that the mask isn’t the real you, but it projects what you want your audience to see as the real you. The fiters, touch-ups, makeup, clothing are all things that we use to change our appearances in hopes to change other people perceptions of us. Although I mentioned that our mask/persona can be a positive tool, I personally believe that we are trapped in a world that values how awesome of a person you are by the number of Instagram followers we have.
The duck-face phase and doggy-filter uploads to Instagram are a thing of the past (at least for me) and I am now one of those boring Instagram users whose profile is on private, only uploading once a week (sometimes less) with pictures of views, family and friends (the occasional selfie of course) and our family dog. I’d rather be boring than pretentious and I am all for being natural and true to myself. But if you think about it, even that is my online persona. I still select which images I want my friends to see. I don’t take pictures of my-self doing boring things like applying pimple cream to my face while waiting for the iron to turn on; instead, I upload pictures of myself on a tropical getaway on Waikiki beach.
I realise that the term ‘mask’ seems a little dramatic and that it has negative connotations, but I honestly believe that technology and social media is trapping and luring users into a pretentious world and giving people false impressions of what life really is about. Yeah sure, some people can really use their photoshopped bikini snaps and full faces of makeup to their advantage, but its not real life and I assure you those people do not ‘wake up like that’! The online galaxy has great powers of bringing people from all over the world together and connecting us, but how can we distinguish between who we actually are and who we want the world to see?