by B. Imei Hsu, BSN-RN, MAC-LMHC, Artist
Recently, I came across an article on Mashable about the ‘Facebook Facelift’: that is, facelifts prompted by concerned consumers after seeing their images as depicted on Social Media platforms. As quoted from the article, Dr. Adam Schaffner, a New York plastic surgeon stated, “When you look in the mirror you’re seeing the mirror image of yourself. But when you see yourself on social media, you’re seeing yourself the way the world sees you” [italics added]. Continuing to reflect on the intersection between technology, Social Media, and human behavior, I am not surprised at this increase. We are living in an age where curating identity has become a pasttime of teenagers, emerging adults, and business owners alike. According to the book, Identity Shift by Cerra and James, we have started using the Internet as a our mirror instead of a mature observer or authentic community to reflect to ourselves various aspects of who we are. The curation of identity on the Internet, with psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s philosophy on the mirror phase as a permanent structure rather than a phase in childhood development, creates a hyper-reality that is more real than the real. What happens when identity curation leaves consumers with a sense of disconnection from themselves? The following is a discussion about some of possible pitfalls of Social Media use in the effort to curate one’s identity to obsession.