January 9th, 2015
Identity Fatigue Takes Hold
For maybe just one day, I’d like to be Gisele Bündchen. You know, I’ve got a serious case of Identity Fatigue.
Well, not exactly. “Identity Fatigue” is the reason behind the Internet’s newest trend—and it’s a little more complicated than a good cat video. It’s called “anonymity,” and it’s no longer just for Batman.
When Facebook burst into our lives in 2004, the Internet’s previous culture of anonymity and pseudonymity changed drastically. A company, whose mission is to give people the power to share and make the world a more open and connected place, didn’t just change the Internet, it changed our lives. Users were instantly more connected than ever with friends and family and had a place to express and share what mattered to them freely. We were free to be you and me, if you will.
But all that sharing and freedom is draining! I’m tired. Between trying to showcase my perfect dogs, and my perfect job (ahem, raise Tim and Gregg?), and taking the perfect #selfie (it’s all about the upward angle, chin down and a no-teeth smile—you’re so welcome for that bit of genius), I barely have time to wash my hair.
Enter Identity Fatigue.
Everything is linked to our personal identity. Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat—the list goes on. Because of this, for better or worse, we work to identify and exaggerate our true identity. We, sometimes unknowingly, pick and choose the best parts of ourselves to be seen. This constant work to shape our image on our social networks has led to what the digital community and researchers are now calling, Identity Fatigue.
We’re just exhausted of being perfect all the time!
From this exhaustion, arises a new trend of social communities such as Whisper and Secret. Anonymous networks that allow social participation without requiring that we ever be anything other than who we are. Users can post, share, and chat freely—never identifying themselves.
It’s a new way to take a break from the façade that it seems we’re all putting on. So, when you’re tired of being “Facebook you” be regular you—anonymously.