Multiple personality? How we adapt to each social network

by George Philip
Published: Last Updated on 0 comment

If you use different social networks on a daily basis, you must have already noticed the most striking behavioural characteristics of the user base in each of them. Complaining on Twitter is as socially acceptable as saying good morning and good night in the “real world”. In this context, people who are on the microblog get to be energetic when they say: “Do you want to live in a fairy tale? Go to Instagram!”. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a universe of its own — it has even been labelled by many as a toxic network, due to the flood of motivational publications that “forced a bar”.

But what about who is on all these networks at the same time? How do they adapt? Can you have multiple “personalities” and still be… yourself?

I spoke with some experts in psychology, social behaviour and personal branding to understand the phenomenon that seems to shape our actions on each platform. The result of this research, and some tips to do well when moving between different networks, you can find in the following lines.

A personality for each social network?

It’s common, and we know it: opening Instagram and sharing an inspiring photo about looking at the glass half full, then running to Twitter and venting about the work in the neighbour’s apartment. What may seem like a contradiction at first, happens every day, with a lot of people.

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Some platforms allow us to be more “complainers”, while others require more seriousness. There are still those who seek positivity at any cost, and it is even difficult to remain in them when the happiness quota is low.

As well as institutions that we attend outside of digital – school, hospitals, malls, workplace – each social network also has its rules of conduct. They have an influence on how we express ourselves. But are they capable of changing our personality?

personality vs behavior

In psychology, the concept of personality can be defined as “individual differences in characteristic patterns of thought and behaviour”. Scientific research indicates that a person can suffer from a personality disorder (such as narcissism or obsessive-compulsiveness) due to some factors, including a genetic predisposition, situations of abuse and other social agents – including, of course, digital networks.

There is, however, a difference between personality and behaviour. The second can be understood as a set of activities and reactions of an individual to the social context to which he belongs or is exposed. Under “normal” conditions, behaviour externalizes the personality. But because it is less intrinsic, it is more susceptible to temporary changes.

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Person checking social media on cell phone (Image: James Sutton/Unsplash)

For example, an extrovert person may feel cornered in a given situation and have behaviours that are not natural to their personality, such as reclusion, lack of sociability. If this environment becomes your “new habitat”, perhaps it will begin to change your personality over time.

Thinking about social networks, Bruno Munhoz Ribeiro, Clinical Psychologist at Telavita and postgraduate in Clinical and Intensive Neurology, says the following:

“The growth in the use and insertion of social media in recent years has transformed the way people have exposed their behavior to friends, family and — why not? — the world in the virtual universe. The different ways this exposure happens, in networks with different stimuli, can show different facets of a person and in many cases change their behavior patterns and way of life.”

He also explains that there is not just a specific age group for the influence of networks to have an effect on their users .

“With the evolution of technology in recent decades, it has not been possible to determine a specific age group for the consumption of social networks to start having a massive and significant effect on people’s behavioral aspects. In this case, the most sensitive to this content are children in the process of cognitive development, but there are already reports of elderly people who also end up going through this process with the growth and diffusion of these networks. such tools.”

Community and resources influence users

You can even say: “Hey, if the profile is yours, you can post whatever you want” — but the truth is that this only works until the second page. As Flavia Gamonar, teacher, consultant and instructor at LinkedIn Learning explains, we participate in social networks (digital or not), because we see benefits in them, and receiving support is one of them.

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“When I decide to participate in a social network of people who play football or belong to the same religious community, for example, I do so because I see benefits. The first of them would be to be a part, to identify myself. But beyond that, there is also support, endorsement and the circulation of information that interests me and the group.”

Ribeiro says that in addition to the community itself, the resources offered by applications and websites end up shaping our behaviour on a daily basis. The psychologist also associates this factor with feelings of joy or the option of hiding their true identity on social networks.

“Visual stimulation networks, such as Instagram, tend to strengthen the desire for acceptance and social approval through photos and stories that often do not express a legitimate feeling of joy or pleasure. On the other hand, networks like Twitter or Reddit , which are based on writing, can end up releasing more creative points, or that do not depend so much on their “personal image” for their exposed ideas – a great example of this is the immense creation of alter egos. in that kind of networks.”

Flavia Gamonar also believes that there are two major sources of influence for a user who is part of a social network.

“Instagram, for example, when created, had the purpose of sharing photos and tagging the location, but over time the platform received new features and new uses. New features lead to behaviors that didn’t exist before. And users also shape their usage, their directions and this can lead to new features. So I believe both happen, one leads to the other.”

LinkedIn is a clear example of how the community is a strong influencer in creating certain patterns of behaviour, which can end up changing other people’s perceptions of their identity.

“If we were to cite some theorists who speak on the subject, we would have Raquel Recurso and Erving Goffman. They treat these uses as faces and their interactions. Some theorists discuss this as identity, that is, the identity we assume in these spaces, the various faces you assume on social networks to achieve your purpose, so that people see you as you want to be seen. Face work is the actions people take to achieve this, such as posts, links, comments, interactions, anything that helps them maintain the face they created and reinforce who they are.”

Flavia Gamonar, teacher and consultant

As a professional social network, LinkedIn has a different kind of “code of conduct”, an “invisible tag”, as Gamonar puts it. She argues that, in theory, the publication is free, but one must keep in mind the context and justification for publishing on any topic.

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Regarding the wave of posts considered toxic on the network, Flavia says that the problem is to “romanticize everything”. In this context, the imbalance in publications can generate the opposite effect: a certain loss of personality, of what makes us unique.

“The big problem is that some people start to romanticize everything, always wanting to extract a moral lesson, putting themselves without realizing it on a pedestal of advice and a perfect life. Then the network starts to be called toxic, you know? So, it is important to balance so as not to exaggerate either here or there. That’s why authenticity and escaping from ready-made formulas is so important, otherwise you start making publications the same as the other and it’s all one thing.”

In the end, everything is connected.

It doesn’t matter what traits you display the most on your social media: in the end, all the arrows point to the same place: you. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain consistency in relation to your personality in all social networks, even if some behaviours end up being shaped according to the specific environment that each one provides.

It makes no sense, for example, to complain about work on Twitter and act as if everything is fine in “real life”, in everyday life. The discrepancy between these attitudes can even end up damaging your image in front of other people – such as your boss, your co-workers, friends or family.

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Do something cool! (Image: Clark Tibbs/Unsplash)

André Santos, who is LinkedIn Top Voice and a specialist in personal branding, believes that, although there is a little influence of community and resources on social network users, the ideal is not to let any of that change who we really are.

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“Each social network has its own way. Instagram and TikTok , for example, are more informal. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is more professional. Even so, I believe that we should not let this change our essence and our way of being. I, for example, try to be the same relaxed André, regardless of the social network.”

For Santos, it’s not worth joining a social network just to gain an audience if you don’t feel comfortable publishing on the platform. The tip is clear: act naturally. “If you believe that your style adapts to all networks, I don’t see a problem with being on them, as long as you are natural (and manage to have time to produce varied content)”, he ponders.

Finally, Flavia Gamonar draws attention to the concept of “private” on the internet, which ends up taking on a different content.

“If I send a private audio in a WhatsApp group, it stops being private if one of the group members decides to show or forward this audio to someone. A closed Instagram can also have printed and leaked posts. In other words, as much as each network has its purpose and characteristics, we live in an era in which it is essential to be one person, without masks, with nothing to hide. You have to think a lot before posting something, because at the end of the day everything is in the same backyard as the internet and in minutes it can generate unimaginable consequences in a society that tries every day to be better by including people and canceling those who believe they are out of line. ”

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