Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Perceptions of Identity: Version 2
For more information on Plato's Cave, click the image above.
To learn how to stop staring at the shadow's, check out Mitchell Cottrell's post.
Before we go any further, let's take a step back in history and see what Plato, an ancient and rather famous philosopher, has to say. In his allegory of the cave, Plato describes a scene in which several individuals are chained to the ground in a way that forces them to face the wall ahead of them. On this wall, they see several shadows. Some of these shadows they see so frequently that they begin to name them. In reality, these shadows come from people and objects passing in front of a fire behind the imprisoned individuals. However, because the shadows are all the chained people can see, they believe the shadows to be the reality.

How does this relate to identity, you might ask? Well, when all the people could see were shadows, they started to see the shadows as the real thing. On, we learn that the following occurs every second:
  • 7,127 Tweets
  • 486 Instagram Posts
  • 1,475 Tumblr Posts
  • 2,043 Skype Calls
  • 53,102 Google Searches

It's almost as if we use the internet to communicate or something. #sarcasm

The internet is becoming the main way that society communicates. And if what people see of you is your internet presence, then that starts to become the reality. Your identity is happening more online than it is off.

We can build up our credibility or tear it down, all depending on what we say online.

"There is no hiding offline; with or without you, people are talking about your organization online and on social media...the digital footprints you leave behind...write your corporate history." (Matejic, Nicole. Social Media Rules of Engagement: Why Your Online Narrative Is the Best Weapon during a Crisis.)

Your perception is reality, and the way we communicate with each other dictates how we are perceived. As such, as communication changes, the way people see us may also change. In eras past, all your employer saw was your work ethic and quality, so that was how you were identified. The only people who knew you based off of your personal life was your family and friends-- work life and personal life were two clearly distinct categories. It didn't much matter what decisions one made in their personal life, because those who they had business relationships with likely wouldn't see it. However, with the rise of social media and perpetual, prolific updates, these two worlds are edging closer and closer together.

I currently work as an editor/ proofreader for a church-run youth summer program, and in my line of work I frequently see applications and resumes and the like. While I myself am not responsible for hiring decisions, some of my coworkers help in that process by reviewing the social media profiles of the applicants. It's been an interesting experience to see the types of things that will get candidates removed from the hiring pool. We have to define the character of the applicants based on their digital footprint. It sounds unfair--but I argue that what we put online says more about us than we seem to think. Because we have an opportunity to create our personal identity and reinvent ourselves online, that is where we showcase ourselves.  Employers checking out facebook profiles are making use of a  powerful tool to figure out who people really are, and who they believe themselves to be. As such, we have a responsibility to be careful stewards of our online identity. 


To make sure that you know how to grow outside of your social media profiles, check out Kotahi Tarawhiti's post here.

For a counterargument in favor of increased cyber security, check out Jolene Hammond's post here.


  1. I love the way you started your video Katelyn... and I think the follow up content through text is very well done as well! I"m excited to see the final version ... are there any specific connections to our main group topic/project?

  2. I have never realize before but our subjects show the opposite views from each other. I am advocating that our online identities be protected from those unauthorized to view it however you are saying how it is an important tool for employers to discover who they will hire. I think we can totally expand on this and make it a very good connecting argument and counter argument.

  3. i really liked your links to other peoples posts and how well you incorporated that first link, it made me want to go see the other post! I loved it. I also liked that you started with the historical event. this immediately built your credibility.