Some people rant and rave online, but have a hard time standing up for themselves in person. Some people create shiny social media profiles that omit the gritty side of life. Some people make intimate confessions online they could never bring themselves to say out loud. No matter your style, if the discrepancy between your online persona and your off-line self makes you feel a little two-faced, maybe it’s time for a change. Research suggests closing the gap between your Facebook self and your IRL self leads to better mental health and a better social life.
The study, published in the academic journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, asked 164 people to complete surveys on mental health and social connectedness and two personality assessments: one as their online self, and one as their off-line self. The researchers found those with similar online and off-line selves were more socially connected and less stressed. You can read the study here.
If Shakespeare were alive today, he would be thoroughly confused by our tweeting, posting, and selfies. Regardless, he seems to have been a man ahead of his time in his advice: “This above all, to thine own self be true.” If our social media profiles are bubbly and positive, maybe we could infuse some of our day to day life with this optimism. If we are kind in person, but snippy online, perhaps we should picture the person on the other side of the screen. As we take the best of our online selves and our off-line selves, our world as a whole will be a kinder and happier place.
Enjoy life off-line!