Social Media Identity

Social media identity is probably one of the least well-articulated aspects of modern life. Historically, we had been so eagerly taken by the benefits of social media that very few of us paid any attention to what it all means and how it might affect us both on and offline. Billions (about 3.5 at last count) have signed on to social media, spending three or more hours a day on it and yielding to the inherent temptation and the ease of relentlessly growing the number of virtual contacts day by day.

At the same time, we have failed to realize that our online identity has also become our professional identity, our financial identity, our consumer identity, our political identity, and every other conceivable identity. We live in a world where your online identity is used to decide whether you:

• Should be offered a certain job in business, government or non-profits
• Qualify as an expert in your field
• Deserve to be admitted to the college or university of your choice
• Merit support if you are running for political office
• Warrant financial credit—how much and at what cost to you
• Qualify as a desirable dating prospect

The question is: Is social media identity measurable and is it possible to present it in a manner that makes intuitive sense while, at the same time, allowing social media users to make it truly reflective of their own perception of self?

HOO-R-UTM Profile identifies the key elements of your online presence and lets you know the relative strengths and weaknesses you project on social media. It is an extension of Charles Horton Cooley’s groundbreaking work that culminated in his book Human Nature and the Social Order. Cooley’s Looking Glass Self Concept is particularly applicable to social media members whose self-image is necessarily a reflection of people, businesses, organizations, etc., with whom members interact anonymously online.

The looking-glass self-concept states that a person’s self grows out of society’s interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others. By constantly interacting with others we begin to develop an identity about who we are.

The looking-glass self develops in stages: (1) We imagine how we appear to others; (2) We imagine the judgments they make about us; and (3) We develop our own self-identity through the judgments of others.

The self, or self-feeling, is the sum-total of the attitudes, beliefs, and motives that distinguish a person from all the others. Every one of us labors to maintain, preserve and support that identity in our daily actions when we encounter others.

HOO-R-UTM Profile measures those attitudes, beliefs and motives through a proprietary questionnaire. The design of the questionnaire, the items it asks social media members to rate, the order in which the questions are presented on smartphone, tablets, laptops or desktop computers, etc., helps provide the data required by the proprietary algorithm that produces the final profile.

While we expect most first-time HOO-R-UTM Profile users to be driven by sheer curiosity, we hope they will soon discover the usefulness of this indicator for monitoring their online identity over time leading, hopefully, to personal growth and increased satisfaction with the social media experience.