Internet fabricates and erases our true identities

Akilah Davis/Contributing Writer

Who are you without a social image? It’s almost impossible to consider an identity without one, being that the internet is both accessed and accessible to virtually anyone, starting approximately at three years old — according to the results of a 2013 study reported in The Telegraph.

In three years, the internet has evolved immensely and so has our connection to it, from adolescent years all the way to adulthood. Our grandparents and older relatives are also taking a deeper interest in the cyber world.

My 55-year-old father, who just two months ago admitted to me that he’d prefer his dust-covered, flip mobile phone over a touch screen device, is currently happily texting away using emoticons, streaming videos on  his laptop and is sometimes more knowledgeable on the digital social scene than I am.

Statista, an online statistics portal, reported that as of May 2015, 81 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 years old are internet users, along with 58 percent of Americans ages 65 years and older.

Channel networks such as “Disney Junior” or” Sprout” (formerly PBS Kids Sprout) assure us that media broadcasting-and the subliminal messages within them-reaches us all, even from a very young age.

“92.2 percent of one year olds have already used a mobile device,” M.D. David L. Hill said in an article written by John Kublin of The New York Times.

According to the article, TV causes a decrease of physical activity in American children and American adults spend five and a half hours watching television a day.

This means that while anyone can watch a screen, they are not able to abstain- adults and children alike- from societal and social influences.

This is because the internet and TV, along with many other programming tools, have become portals to filter messages, both consciously and subliminally to the average individual.

These messages are everywhere: it’s the ads we see, persuading us to shop so we can look better or in season; it’s the social media entertainers we watch to enjoy and/or imitate, for example the popular Dubsmash videos or challenges; and ultimately it’s the lifestyles we wish we had or will have in the future, in reality shows or Instagram profiles.

These messages allow us to conjure a fantasy, live as someone else, or a preferred version of ourselves through pictures using Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest; quotes using Twitter; video using Snapchat, Vine, Periscope; or all of the above using Facebook, the motherload of all social networks.

It becomes almost impossible for us to remember who we were before. Before people liked your picture without knowing your character, before you were cosigned and retweeted without a single greeting or introduction and before people watched and decided they enjoyed your videos simply because you already had thousands of views.

For that, this is why I write my column, “A is for Anti,” an oppositional commentary on the societal and social influences of America. This is the commitment I have made to the salvation and preservation of harvesting and harnessing our own, true, unique identities. Before they could be influenced and fabricated.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Image retrieved from Flickr.

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