Social Media Scammers Convey Fake Personalities Over the Internet, Which Are Inaccurate of Reality

Michael Pankowski, Opinion Managing Editor

Bored in class, you find yourself on your phone yet again. Scrolling through your feed, you see a couple of nice group flicks, a questionable Finsta post, a selfiea�� Wait a minute. She does not look like that in real life.
What’s up with that?
On social media, many students strive to show the world their best possible self. Of course, it is encouraged that students post pictures and Tweets that reflect positively on themselves. However, there are limits to this. Sometimes, students strive to be so perfect, in appearance and otherwise, that they end up portraying someone on the Internet who is not themselves.
This false portrayal may come with a couple dozen more likes, but also a host of problems.
For starters, the pursuit of perfection can be confusing. No, I am not talking about MTV’s Catfish; more subtle behavior is the real culprit here.
Editing tools allow people to modify their images in order to get whiter teeth, an unblemished face and a more perfect body all in around five minutes. However, this edited, beautiful hunk (or babe) does not exist in real life. Followers follow people because they want to see and keep up with them, so why post pictures of a create-a-babe?
“When I do [come across these people], I feel like they are trying to be someone who they’re not in order to impress or be someone else,” freshman Elenna Mach said.
This social media deception does not stop at visual magic tricks. Another form of this trickery is when students say things on the Internet that they would not dare say in real life. This can include various slurs, or just simply over-the-top bold behavior.
Take, for example, the Twitter “beef” prior to the football game against Richard Montgomery HS in September. Although there have been more Twitter arguments in past years, there were still instances this year of students asking to fight students from the rival school.
Would these students actually duke it out?
Unlikely, as there were no noticeable occurrences of fighting this year, despite the trash talk.
Why, then, would they make these remarks?
Well, to look cool or manly, probably.
However, talking trash on the Internet will not impress most people, and it is instead likely to have the opposite effect.
“For three years now I’ve seen these RM kids on Twitter talking about fighting Rockville kids and all three years nothing has happened. No one takes those kids seriously anymore because we know they’re lying,” junior Andrew Perez said.
So you have posted some pictures that maybe look like you if you squint and turn your head to the left, or you started some arguments on the Internet touting a fierce right hook you might not have? You’re fine, right?
Well, maybe not.
Students acting differently on social media is more than just a harmless case of having too many filters at one’s disposal on Instagram, or a byproduct of testosterone rushes on Twitter. In an August 2016 article from Time Magazine entitled, “How Social Media Is a Toxic Mirror,” author Rachel Simmons said that the wish to gain social acceptance on the Internet is having a negative effect on the mental health of teens.
“[In a 2016 study] psychologists found robust cross-cultural evidence linking social media use to body image concerns, dieting, body surveillance, a drive for thinness and self-objectification in adolescents,” Simmons said.
This is not to say that all photo editing is bad. A quality edit can add a hint of pizazz to a photo. However, next time you are posting an edited picture of yourself, make sure it is still clearly a picture of, well, yourself.