Social constructs are ideas that are created and accepted by society. Religion, education, technology, deviance and even marriage are just a few examples of the social constructs we operate around and within. This month’s Front Page is dedicated to exploring another well known social construct: social media.
Darrell Berry is described as being one of the first, if not the first person to use the term “social media”. The photographer, slash writer, slash social media researcher, slash strategist, slash hacker, claims that he first used the term in 1994. However, the title of being the first person to coin the term is one that he may (or may not) share with former iVillage executive Tina Sharkey and serial entrepreneur and former AOL executive, Ted Leonsis.
Regardless of who coined the term, social media has been connecting friends and family across vast distances since the invention of UseNet in 1979. Who would have ever thought that? From there came 1997’s Six Degrees, which is credited by some as being the first official social media site that allowed users to upload a profile and connect with other users.
Social media can be as powerful as it can be entertaining. It’s a tool that allows us to accentuate the positive and the not so fun things going on in our lives and it gives us a chance to observe these same things in the lives of others as well. It allows us to create an online presence and gives us a platform to use in either creating or maintaining a social identity. It also helps the work day flow a little faster too, but don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss.
While we’re all aware of who the people we follow and subscribe to are ( or at least claim to be), who are you on social media? How would you respond if asked to define your social media presence? How would your social identity be judged? Are you the egocentric poster who notifies friends, followers and subscribers of your every move or are you the foodie who passionately posts every morsel or meal you consume? Would your Facebook friends describe you as someone who would be better off using a journal or would they characterize you as a pot stirrer?
Someone somewhere, at some point, once advised against judging a book by its cover. However in this day in age, that’s almost all we have to judge someone by. This month’s Front Page is dedicated to exploring the types of people we are, and encounter on social media.
1. The Jesus Freak
The Jesus Freak almost always includes a scripture or a reference to a scripture in his posts. He goes live from church every Sunday to let the four people viewing his live stream know that not only is he at church, but he’s sitting in the front row. The Jesus freak is passive aggressive but doesn’t like to argue with anyone. He doesn’t have a solid theological belief and even though he’s easily intimidated, he wastes no time in liking controversial topics so that he can watch others argue about it in the comments.
The Jesus Freak is a conspiracy theorist of sorts and not only does he believe that the Illuminati is real, he believes that they are responsible for the immorality of mankind. Not only is Jesus his lord and savior, but he’s his attack dog as well. His hashtags include #teamjesus, #teamsoldierforchrist and #2blessed2bestressed. God hasn’t sent him a man yet and he can’t decide whether or not that’s the result of God hating fags or because God is still working on his “forever man”.
You can find him in the church bathroom trolling his fellow Jesus Freaks on Jack’d for fun. He drives a 2009 Nissan Altima, likes bareback sex and avoids The Hotep. Also; bottom.
2. The Fake Motivator
The Fake Motivator normally starts his posts with “great morning”. He does his best to give others advice on ways in which they can live their #bestlife even though his is a complete and utter mess. His Instagram bio reads something like, “My purpose is to help people find their purpose”. The Fake Motivator posts pictures of himself thoughtfully gazing into the distance with captions like, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground”, or “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs”. The realest part about The Fake Motivator is his uncanny ability to annoy.
However, none of us should be fooled, because The Fake Motivator knows exactly what he’s doing, and if you cash app him a fifty dollar deposit, he’ll give you the secrets on the things you need to do to improve your life. He sells what appears to be his lifestyle as a product, but the truth is that his credit score is below 500. His hashtags include, but are not limited to #befree, #lovemylife, and #selflove.
You can find him somewhere between two or three months behind on his rent and crying alone in the dark because PECO doesn’t play. When he’s not busy stunting on his friend’s buddy pass he’s working at a call center and doesn’t know the difference between “there”, ‘their” and “they’re”. Verse top, light skinned with curly hair.
3. The Denier
The Denier is the guy who is reluctant to admit that his actions are driven by his anticipation of likes, retweets, and shares. He carries a vast amount of internal rage for the Social Media Whore because, quote, “he’s overrated”. While he claims he’s not interested in the latest fashions and trends, he’s uber excited about the launch of Fashion Nova’s Mens line and plans to be seen in it before the Social Media Whore.
His hashtags include #independentthinker, #thinkoutsidethebox, and #niceforwhat. The Denier times his posts to ensure that they are seen by the masses and he deletes them if they don’t receive enough likes, retweets, and shares. Don’t worry though, he’ll post anything he deletes within the next twenty-four hours. He self-brands all of the memes he steals from Twitter and will never admit to being as narcissistic as he actually is.
The Denier can be found trolling the Social Media Whore from his anonymous Twitter account while simultaneously vying for his attention on Facebook. He was last seen at D.C. Pride in the background of someone else’s Instagram picture- he strategically placed himself there so he could tag himself in it later. Drives for Uber and has six followers on Snapchat.
4. The Social Media Whore
The Social Media Whore is the shit, and the worst part about that is that he knows it. The Social Media Whore is always posting pictures of himself in his natural habitat- the locker room mirror at LA Fitness. His psychological addiction to @’s isn’t a huge secret and he takes offense to receiving any less than a thousand likes per post.
While he’s often found at the gym, he can also be found brunching with his Social Media Whore friends or posing in front of an unoccupied brick wall while fishing for compliments on Instagram.
A possessor of feigned modesty, he maintains his followers by posting heavily filtered sexually suggestive photos- but he doesn’t send nudes. He crops his ugly friends out of pictures and removes tags. His hashtags include #transformationtuesday, #nofilter, #sorrynotsorry, #selfie and #relationshipgoals.
The Social Media Whore was last seen aspiring to be an ASOS model and trying how to read his way out of a shoe box. Redbone. Slim-thick, Works at Armani Exchange Owns six pairs of red sneakers.
5 The Hotep
While Hotep may be the Egyptian word for “at peace”, the Hotep himself is always mad about something. The Hotep spends his days raining on everyone’s parade. While many of us were busy talking about last month’s royal wedding, the Hotep was busy reminding people that Flint still doesn’t have clean water. The Hotep invests his time and energy in arrogantly posting illogical conspiracy theories that include, but aren’t always limited to, the murder of Whitney Houston by the Illuminati, Michael Jackson’s light-skinned impostor, flat Earth, the government’s efforts to control the weather and chemtrails.
The Hotep is a continual thorn in the side of The Jesus Freak because he knows something that the Jesus Freak doesn’t; that Christianity is a slave religion and the imaginary figure of Jesus is the modeled after the master. His hashtags include #thirdeye, #eyeofhorus, and #namaste
The Hotep can be found at the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market on the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and West 116th in East Harlem. The Hotep supports Bill Cosby and smokes kush with Afrocentric names. He was last seen writing a think piece on Childish Gambino’s This Is America at a black-owned and operated cafe that specializes in making coffee from beans grown off the Ivory Coast and dealing with the internal struggle of maintaining his SGL and Hotep identities. Reeks of shea butter. Unemployed. Enjoys the stylings of Tommy Sotomayor.
6. The Social Media Activist
The Social Media Activist is almost always misinformed. He can be found posting three-year-old articles from The Root as if they are current and believes The Onion to be a credible news source. The Social Media Activist didn’t vote in the 2016 election as he, along with The Hotep, believe that elections are rigged and constantly posts about the need for a revolution that will not be televised.
His hashtags include #metoo, #feminist, #flintwatercrisis, and #resist. The Social Media Activist normally entertains his friends and followers with politically correct memes and is quick to jump on the next available social movement. He serves as a moderator for a group on Facebook that is aptly titled, “You Can’t Say That” and detests being called a slacktivist.
He was last seen trolling Donald Trump on Twitter while creating posters for Rachel Dolezal’s upcoming Transracial March against Colorism. He doesn’t date black men but has somehow managed to maintain a friendship with The Hotep. Currently listening to Solange's Don’t Touch My Hair. Android user. All Lives Matter.
7. The Changeling
While you may be able to fool some of the people some of the time, the Changeling strives to fool all of the people all of the time. The Changeling ain’t shit to those of us who know him, but according to his social media, he’s got it going on. Despite the fact that he’s owed you the same thirty dollars since the summer of ‘08, he propagates a lavish life of leisure that you know he can’t possibly afford.
The Changeling tweets about his vacations, tags designers in his Instagram posts and follows less than half of the people following him on Twitter. No one knows where he works, which is why they’re all interested in how he affords his “lifestyle”.
His hashtags include #frequentflyer, #skylounge, #atl and #vacation The Changeling generally posts from airports, hotel rooms and in front of step and repeats while encouraging his followers to live their best lives no matter what. Works as a flight attendant has a 32-inch waist and still owes you thirty bucks. Splits the rent with The Fake Motivator. Metro PCS.
Of course, there are at least ten more types of social media personalities we could mention, but it's safe to assume you get the point by now. The best part about social media is that outside of keeping us connected to one another, it allows us to create an online identity that, in the best cases, reflect who we truly are.
We live in a world where many of our real-life behaviors don't match our online personalities. While the instant gratification and approval we get from our peers may appear rewarding, we still have real-life problems to deal with after we log off. The challenge to overcoming this is to not misrepresent ourselves based off of the ideas of success that have been created by society by creating an identity of our own choosing