Communities and Web 2.0 Identity in Communities and Networks Social Networks

What sacrifices do we make in order to blend in between online and offline communities and how much of our self-identity do we lose?

21 replies on “What sacrifices do we make in order to blend in between online and offline communities and how much of our self-identity do we lose?”

Hi Jade, your piece is a great read with valid, informative points. As I personally am an Instagram user, it is hard not to notice the beauty community growing rapidly, with beauty products being advertised left, right and centre. Usually which are being advertised by social media influencers, with large followings of users who can easily be persuaded into purchasing these products.

I found interesting and strongly believe that these ideologies of ‘perfection’ do have large negative impact on users identities. The statistics from 2005-2018, starting at 5%-69% of the growth from social medias impact is immense. I do strongly stand by your argument that, beauty communities offline and online have impacted users self image and fitting in. – Focusing mainly on the platform Instagram, do you believe that Instagram would resolve this issue if hypothetically advertisements were removed from the platform?

I enjoyed the read on your point of view about social media! In my conference piece I argue social media has created online influencers as well as activist communities through platforms such as Instagram if you were interested in an alternate read.

Hi Jasmyn,
Thank you for reading my paper!
I’m not that big of a social media user myself but if i do go on i usually go on Instagram and its astounds me how much the beauty communities keep growing. And i definitely agree they have really been an increase in influencers rather than traditional advertising. I don’t think Instagram will resolve the issue. Even though they are a company that believes in freedom of expression. But in today society it will take more than just one company to change this, I think Instagram could take a step in the right director but i think it will take an effort from the whole online networking platforms and the influencer communities to really allow freedom of expression.

I’ll go check out your post now!

Hi Jade, thanks for answering my question! I do believe what you are expressing, and that instagram could take more steps towards resolving this issue and to follow their beliefs of “freedom of expression.”

Although it feels as if the platform is continually growing towards a negative direction and users feel the need to look ‘perfect’ in their pictures. Instagram did indeed take away the feature of being able to see how many likes accounts receive. Which is a step towards the right direction of allowing users to not perhaps feel judged and compare their likes to other accounts.

It would be interesting to see if the removal of this feature has statistically improved users freedom of expression!

Hi Jasmyn,
Yes! i do agree they did take a step towards it by removing the amount of likes but i think there is still such a big stigma as we can still see how many post, followers and people everyone is following so this i think effects the images of also trying to be someone in the online platform world.

Jade Tallowin, very interesting paper and thank you for sharing this with us. I do agree with you that social media affects the performance of identity especially when it comes to Instagram. When I go through my feed it is like many users are celebrities and this is based on the number of likes, views, comments, follows etc. they have. Even when using the search function my searches generally show the popular people.

In your paper, I was struggling to understand the argument you were making, as you spoke a lot about Instagram throughout the paper but in the end spoke about the beauty industry.

When we consider web platforms, much like Google, it is based on relevance. The user determines what is relevant based on their search. Instagram like many other platforms functions the same. The more you engage with certain content only that content appears in your feed. When we look at the psychological part I am able to say the following “I will become what I see over and over and over again”. In reality, this means that if I always see muscular, toned, trained bodies every day, it will produce the perception that people’s bodies should be like this, and the way I look, there is something wrong. When I go out into society who perceive the same thing, who makes mention of these flaws decreases my self-esteem. So in order to boost my self-esteem, I join a gym and also post pictures of my progress.

Do you see the cycle? Now when considering the beauty industry this trend has come from times past but with the internet’s capabilities, that message is amplified even stronger.

This leads me to the question, do you think most people willingly engage just to be popular or are they just trying to belong within society?

I look forward to your answer however I would like to invite you to read my paper as I do explore this area and it would perhaps provide more insight on the subject.


Hi Tyrone,
Thank you for taking the time to read my paper. I do understand your point that many users are the influencers of their own feeds based off what they have searched previously and are interested in.

I think people do engage within what they are interested and I do think this plays a huge part in it. I think they do it to belong within communities and to become popular. I used the beauty industry as an example on the Instagram platform but this can be in multiple communities in most if not all social media platforms.

Users engage in what they are interested in but then once they are in that community many have the need to belong or “fit in” hence then when users start adjusting their self identities and making small changes. Sometimes this happens without even knowing it but sooner or later many who have made a name for themselves or become popular in their desired community have also changed their self identity.

What do you think. Do you think they do this for popularity or for to feel like they belong?

Thank you! I look forward to your answer.

Hi Jade

This was an interesting paper. As a user of Instagram who isn’t part of the beauty community, I still find myself exposed to it pondered on the effects of that exposure on my own identity whilst reading.

Do you think that Instagram is wholly to blame for the impact on self-identity, or that brands would find a way to impact self-identity with any platform?

Also, in terms of self-identity, what are your thoughts on filter apps people use alongside Instagram, such as Facetune?

Hi India,
Thanks for reading my paper.
I agree, I use Instagram but not too frequently. Though I am not part of the fashion and beauty industry as well but I often find it in my feed or explore page without searching it myself.

I don’t necessarily think it is completely Instagrams fault as yes it is 1 of many platforms available for brands to expose and influence their consumers (users). But i also think if the platforms weren’t involved, that they could still impact communities and individuals within those communities as this was done before web 2.0 and social media was created. And even though we have the world wide web brands are still influencing them, I mentioned in my paper about offline influences.
I think overall brands both online and offline can influence one’s self-identity.

As for filter apps i think they play a big part of our self-identities within different communities. But i also don’t think they are necessarily to blame either, because I think they have been created for this such reason of “helping” an individual to “fit in” to their communities and overall society.

I would like to know your opinion on these two questions as well. Do you think the platforms and Instagram in particular are wholly blame? and what are you thoughts on filter apps?


Hi Jade

You bring up some good points. I tend to agree that brands would still, and did prior to Web 2.0, find a way to have influence.

I’d say that one strong difference is that with Web 2.0, advertising is less explicit. For example, a billboard is clearly an advertisement. On the other hand, a post from an influencer promoting a product could be classed either way – maybe they just really like the product, or maybe they’re being paid.

I think this ambiguity is what leads to a greater impact on self-identity from advertisers as people can mistakenly interpret advertising as an “authentic” post.

So, to answer your question, I don’t think Instagram is wholly to blame, but the kind of in-explicit advertising it allows is. And I’d say filter apps are a product of the conditions of apps like Instagram.

As a side note, the book Advertising 2.0: Social Media Marketing in a Web 2.0 World by Tracy Tuten has some interesting perspectives on advertising in Web 2.0 that may be relevant to your research if you’re looking for a good read.

Hi India,
Thank you for your reply!
I agree many ways a user (or consumer) is exposed to today is not necessarily as obvious to them as it used to be prior to Web 2.0. Companies have so many more avenues to explore and influencers are a big part of that.

Do you think filter apps would exist if platforms like Instagram didn’t reflect so much on “fitting into” societies and communities? I think they are such a big deal at the moment because of the effect Instragam and platforms like Instagram have on our everyday lives.

For example i lived in Shanghai for a while and i found it fascinating how their phone cameras are actually build with filtering apps to a bigger extent compared to an iPhone or Android. I also was so surprised with how beauty filtering apps are such a big deal. Anytime a photo was taken it was taken with the normal camera app then edited. It was solely only ever taken straight onto a filtering app that automatic filters our genetic flaws and then more editing could be applied if the users wanted.

I will definitely look into that book it sounds very interesting!


Hi Jade

It’s an interesting question and hard to answer. I’d lean toward the idea that the filtering apps wouldn’t exist if Instagram didn’t have such a “fitting in” culture, but then I think people maybe like to play with modifying their photos anyway to explore their identity.

I also wonder whether people would still filter their photos even if they weren’t being shared anywhere online. I’d lean toward no, but would be interested on your thoughts.

My Dad lives in Thailand and I had the same kind of surprise when I visited and we took a selfie – it got rid of my skin imperfections in camera mode! I wonder why in-camera filtering hasn’t been implemented on iPhone, when most people filter before they upload anyway.

Hi India,
Yes, i would agree with your points! I too think it is somewhat hard to answer as it’s not necessarily a clear straight line of yes or no to me.

I was so surprised when this was a thing on Chinese phones and i’m also surprised it happens in other countries. To me i think this is a culture thing of also “fitting in/ blending in” rather than fuel by social media.

As for iPhones and Andriods i believe this will be a new thing in the near future as technology is constantly growing and as we constantly grow as individuals in this world i think the stigma of “blending in” and trying to be “perfect” in everyone else’s eye will sort of become a norm to. Just like China or Thailand. What do you think?

Overall i think people would still filter their photos even without the online environments because as i mentioned in my paper, there is still such a big aspect of brands influencing us in offline environments. I guess this is just a thing that has become part of today’s norm.


Hi Jade,
Great paper! Your topic was an interesting read especially with the use of figures.
It is such an irony that social media platforms both reinforces ideas, used as a medium to voice out your opinions but at the same time engulfed by endless trends most likely to influence those who are vulnerable.
It is such an irony that social media platforms both reinforces ideas such as shattering stereotypes or ideologies about a specific culture and used as a medium to voice out your opinions but at the same time is engulfed by endless trends most likely to influence those who are vulnerable.
I like the point that you made emphasizing on how blending in society, especially validation and acceptance from others became an important characteristic impacting most of us so as to fit in and is definitely not a phase that stop after our adolescence/young adulthood. Additionally, this facet of ‘blending in’ in real life might not be as easy but in an online environment, it is somehow easier to come across people sharing the same interest or mindset as you.

Hi Jessica,
Thank you for reading my paper!
I agree the irony from the whole situation is very hard to believe sometimes but it’s also very obvious at the same time.

I like your point about “blending in” within real life isn’t always as easy as online. I do agree with this but i think when people try “blending in” within offline communities they are more likely to not give their true identity away as much as within online communities. Because its easier online and everything is behind a screen so you can honestly be anyone you want, where in offline communities you only have you and the influencers around you. What are you thoughts on this?


Hi Jade,
That’s fair enough! I interpret this as a point that you are trying to make between expressing and blending in and definitely agree that it is easier to impersonate a different persona online, that is revealing one’s information while offline there are elements such as one’s physical appearance that is visible to the other person which cannot really be hidden and it is more about blending in with the crowd.

Hi Jade,

This was an interesting paper, thank you for bringing my awareness to it by commenting on my own paper!

I definitely found I could relate to some of the topics you brought up in your paper. I agree with your point that users often spend copious amounts of time ensuring their feed looks ‘perfect,’ representing their ideal selves. Do you believe that the ‘ideal self’ is completely controlled by the users’ self-expression, or governed by societal norms and stigmas created online?

I look forward to your feedback.

Hi Mia,

I honestly believe that the users self-expression is mixed between both. As users we are free to post whatever we would like to and many platforms like Instagram started for this reason. But on the other hand i think that in today’s world social norms and stigmans have really and will continue to really impact what most users post and how they portray their self online.

What are you thoughts on this, do you believe that the ‘ideal self’ is completely controlled by the users’ self-expression, or governed by societal norms and stigmas created online?


Thank you Jade for your insights.

I think there are a growing amount of users who are gaining confidence in self-expression online. This is still outweighed by users who feel more inhibited. I definitely think for the most part, a users self-expression is limited by social norms and stigmas. Especially for younger users who have not completely figured out who they are and are more susceptible to peer pressure.

Hi Mia,

I completely agree with you and your point of view. Social norms and stigmas play a huge part especially in younger users lives.
And self-expression is such an important part of one’s identity and with the social norms and stigmas freedom of expression is not as easy to do anymore.

Hey Jade,

This was a great paper! Such a well-articulated and informative piece, thank you for directing me to your paper. I definitely agree on the fact that the beauty community has flourished on social media and with that beauty influencers as well as many other individuals spend an endless amount of time ensuring that their Instagram feed is ‘perfect’ and fulfills the idealised version of themselves that they seek. Within my paper I explore the use of editing applications such as FaceTune as a tool for body editing. This application has turned into something quite infamous, where many influencers have been outed by Instagram pages such as ‘CelebFace’ for Facetuning their images. Although some may choose to deny use of editing applications, beauty influencers such as James Charles are quite transparent with their use of FaceTune, where he has even made video’s FaceTuning his fans and showing his followers how to use the app. I’m curious to know your thoughts on these and whether you felt that influencers being transparent about their use of FaceTune is a positive thing, or it only reinforces the idea that we need to modify ourselves in order to belong.

Warm regards,

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