Health & Wellness

Real vs. Virtual Identities on Social Media

Credits: LaMenta3 on flickr

This opinion piece was written by Tara Guaimano, a Cedar Grove High School senior participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove.

CEDAR GROVE, NJ - I’m not here to preach about why you should take down online photos of yourself at a party, or delete that tweet with the curse word. This article is not a warning about what colleges are going to see and possibly not accept you because of them. The real matter at hand is digital identity, beyond what is seen by universities or potential employers. It is rather about social media perception and how today’s teens are essentially creating multiple virtual identities, if not developing multiple virtual personas, due to the easy access of and obsession with social media.

For today’s youth, social media is much more than just a medium for sharing photos with friends and family.  Many teens spend countless hours planning, editing, and taking photos to post on their Instagram page, all for the sole purpose of creating a separate identity for themselves and for the sake of self-satisfaction.

Sign Up for E-News

“Some people take Instagram as this artistic portrayal of themselves,” claims Cedar Grove High School senior, Julia O’Donnell, “You can almost tell what kind of subgenre or sub-culture they identify with.”  Such a concept provides ample room for fabrication.

Even aside from over-exposure and privacy issues, social media has gained a prominent role in modern society, as many young people’s Instagram or Twitter personas have become a major part of their personal identities, in some cases masking their real personalities and beliefs.  Their Smartphones and their public feeds act as an extension of themselves—serving as crucial supplements of their overall selves.

“It [Social media] is obviously not a true reflection of the person, because it is not showing everything about them—it is what they are choosing to post and what they want people to see,” said O’Donnell.

The amount of time and effort that goes into posting a photo on Instagram is quite alarming, as it is apparent that many teens have become obsessed with the way they are perceived by their peers online.  Social media makes this reinvention convenient, and many teens use it as a clean slate to craft their personal identity any way they please, only digitally.

“I posted this Instagram photo of myself at a football game with the caption ‘Me enjoying a football game,’ while wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat, but I really don’t like football or the Cowboys,” said Nicolette Digori, Cedar Grove High School senior.

This dangerous mindset can be confusing as young people become engulfed in their digital identity at the expense of their genuine selves.  Concentration is shifted from real character traits and values to how they are best portrayed on a mere Smartphone screen.

“Social media has caused us to shift away from expressing our self-identities and toward constructing facades based on the answers to these questions, ‘How will others look at me?’ and ‘How can I ensure that others view me positively?’,” according to Jim Taylor Ph.D. of

Ultimately, young people are idealizing their own lives, caught in a sea of self-disillusionment, as they try to craft their identity to meet social media and peer standards.  It is important to recognize the epidemic, as it can only regress the social skills and overall growth of young people today.  Teens need to release this unnatural concept of digital identity, and concentrate on the concrete simplicity of flesh-to-flesh perception, for the sake of mental health and personal self-worth of the youth.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Verona/Cedar Grove

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17

July 16, 2018

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16 until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

July 8, 2018

July 2, 2018 – July 8, 2018

On July 3, 2018 at 7:22 a.m., Ptl. Kristian Schneider responded to a David Road address to take a report of a suspicious vehicle. The resident observed a black four door vehicle stop in front of her home at approximately 5:20 a.m. She noticed that both passenger side doors were open and then observed two black males walking from the area of her driveway. She ...

Presbyterian Church Steeple, a Roxbury Landmark, Gets Overdue Attention

July 15, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ - The long-sought restoration of the iconic, but decaying steeple atop the First Presbyterian Church of Succasunna is underway.

Using a massive hydraulic boom lift, workers from Main Street Custom Homes and Remodeling of Succasunna, got a close-up look today at the 165-year-old structure. The company, headquartered a few doors away, is volunteering the project management ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness


Mon, July 23, 9:00 AM

Sellitto Field, Verona

Verona Football 2018 Summer Camp


Mon, July 23, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness

Mane Place II in Verona Celebrates 30 Years in Business!

July 13, 2018

Mane Place II located at 654 Bloomfield Ave. in Verona recently celebrated their 30th Anniversary with week long specials and discounts leading up to a ribbon cutting event on Saturday, June 30th with township officials including Mayor Kevin J. Ryan, Councilman Jack McEvoy, Councilman Alex Roman and Director of Economic Development, Steven Neale.

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...