Have you ever tried depicting a split personality virtually? I think I’ve got it mastered. I administrate two social media accounts, and each caters to a different—and nuanced—audience. My Facebook is reserved for a trichotomized Sariyah, while my Instagram account is more composed and collected. Since I don’t represent myself in a single manner, this is a tough question to answer. Regardless, I believe there is a single path to the heart of understanding self-representation, and it is through the analysis of the perception of others.
Facebook is my intellectual outlet. It’s where I make what matters to me matter to others. My posts are rare, but always carefully crafted and purposeful. I know the demography of my audience, and I target words accordingly. Roughly 50% of my FB friends are childhood friends and family. They find entertainment in unnecessary violence, reality shows, and “ratchetness.” I occasionally share cool dance videos, hilarious vines, or funny videos about what it’s like growing up in a Caribbean household for their amusement—because let’s be real, Facebook is all about likes. Posts are meant to grab attention and receive feedback. This portion of my posts represents “Sariyah” as: #ratchet.
40% of my FB friends are inner-city prep-school kids—students who are too politically correct, doubtful, and highbrow to ever come to a valid conclusion about anything. They expect everything to be hyper-intellectualized and scholarly, therefore 40% of my posts are responses to that attitude. I’m often perceived as the “angry black girl” for trying to refute pointless yet trending topics—e.g. support of affirmative action, defense of sexism, etc.
This portion of my posts represents “Sariyah” as: #SophistiRatchet.
The remaining 10% of my FB friends are church folk. I try to come off as the grounded Christian that I am, but I’m sure they can’t reconcile some of my feminist or ratchet posts with my bible verse quotes. I try to reinforce my beliefs as often as I can, and accentuate connections between the secular and the spiritual for their reassurance. I guess this portion of my posts represents “Sariyah” as: ChristiRatchet.
My Instagram account is a little different. I barely know any of my followers, less that 10%, and I try to keep it that way. Since I’m able to maintain a level of anonymity on Instagram, the intentions behind most of my posts have one goal: convey my Christianity—the aspect of my identity that matters most. This might seem counterintuitive, treacherous even, but I can promise it works best. It’s hard to be taken seriously as a Christian by those who’ve seen me at my worse—everyone on my Facebook. Half of my Instagram pictures have biblical captions, and a few of my pics are actual verses. Although I’m not evangelistic or forceful in person, sharing my beliefs is definitely easier through this quasi-anonymous medium. I also throw in a few beach pics to let my followers know I don’t stay at home and study my bible 24/7…I’d like people to think I have a “life—”whatever that means. So this aspect of my social media identity represents “Sariyah” as: #Christian.