A new study has revealed that people on social media fake to appear authentic online.
According to the study by researchers at Aalto University, presenting an authentic image on social network sites (SNSs) includes an element of fakery and though being authentic is very important for social media users, they have also admitted faking parts of their online image in order to conform to social norms and expectations.
By focusing on two SNSs, Facebook and Last.fm, the researchers came to the conclusion that being real is much more acceptable according to social norms and there was a heavy focus on maintaining a profile that is as natural as possible.
Suvi Uski of Aalto University said that they found a widespread disdain by users for what is known as profile tuning, or intentionally sharing content designed to depict the user in a false way. Sharing personal content online on social network sites has become a common activity for increasing numbers of people around the world.
The faking was particularly noticeable on the music-sharing platform Last.fm where content is shared automatically and the study found that it was not uncommon for some users to purposely choose to listen to, or indeed not listen to, particular music according to the image that that individual wants to portray to others.
In addition, users of Facebook have a high degree of control on what is shared with others, but they often chose not to share anything for fear of conveying the wrong message to fellow users .
The study was published online in the latest edition of journal New Media and Society.