We all wear as many hats as we have social groups. This spurs a common complaint among Facebook users. Suddenly, my friends from church know what I say to my friends from grad school and wait, my cousin is on there too.
It’s not that we have secrets, per se. It’s just that, at church I was the shy girl, and at school I’m the funny one. I’m not a different person in these groups but I do play a different role, and, when it is all combined, it creates a schizophrenic identity.
Is there an upside? Most of us spend our pubescent years trying to decide who the heck we are. We wear t-shirts with the name of our favorite band, we dye our hair, we select clothing brands and pick and choose among available slang words. We make designs for our backpacks and notebooks, sometimes collages from magazine graphics. We especially like it when we find something that is “so me” that we want to tattoo it on our foreheads. What if there was an easy way to display our likes, our dislikes, and create a picture of who we are, inside and out?
I cannot wait to read studies done by psychologists over the coming years (hopefully) that will tell us if Facebook helped preteens to find their identities or if it had no effect or made this process more challenging. The identity crisis hits again in the college-to-adulthood transition and usually again at mid-life. No wonder moms are on Facebook – they too have a driving desire to tell the world “this is who I am!” But, does Facebook fence us in to one persona like picking the wrong friends does? Luckily, the favorite books list can be edited and when regularly updated, the infamous Wall renews itself weekly. As for the numerous social circles we all have who all see our same Facebook profile, I think the hitter will be that human beings understand each other’s complexities. We will all begin to realize that our neighbor is not one-dimensional, and just because he enjoys gardening does not mean that he can’t frequent rifle conventions, too.