Have you ever thought about how we act differently in different situations? Nowadays, people are all actors in their lives. Many people are acting in different ways based on their circumstances. You might have heard about Pengsu, the actor made famous wearing a penguin mask, or Yoo San-seul also known as Yoo Jae-seok who developed a second life as a Korean trot singer. These are good examples of people living with different identities, otherwise known as 'multi personas'. Multi personas is a newly coined term, short for multiple personalities. This phenomena arose from millennials, who regard maintaining various personal identities as important.
|▲ Pictures of Yoo san-seul and Pengsu (Photo from EBS and MBC)|
Human tends to behave based on what they recognize. As we grow, we realize that each social situation we face requires different roles and responses. These experiences help people develop personalities that fit their circumstances. For example, I am my parent’s child, a student of Dankook University (DKU), and reporter of the Dankook Herald (DKH). Through these many roles, I transform my characters to match each circumstance. This behavioral modification happens in our online life too. There are so many ways to express our identities through social networking services (SNS). In the millennial ages, youth are familiar with using machines and they “speak” in different tones based on the app they use. For instance, they speak through images on Instagram, they chat casually on Facebook, and they reveal their inner self through Twitter, and more.
The DKH interviewed Dankookians (students of DKU) to investigate their perceptions of the multi persona phenomenon. We asked our interviewees what mood they felt when using different SNS apps. “Each SNS has a different feel," student Noh said. “In the case of Facebook, I feel raucous because several people gather there and quickly deliver the news. While on Instagram, I felt calm because everyone shares their daily lives individually." Another student said, "Kakao Story feels like media used by people in their 40s. Instagram is for self-pride, and Facebook is like Cyworld from the old days." Next, we asked whether students knew of the multi-persona concept and if they had ever experienced it. Most of the interviewees said they did not know the meaning of multi-persona, but they had experienced it. Student Jeong replied that she has used a sub-account of Instagram, which focuses on her interests. When she connects to the sub-account, she feels more comfortable than in her main account.
We also asked if these personas have led to increased consumption patterns. One interviewee said, "I don't spend a lot of money on clothes, but I don't care how much money I spend on my hobbies." In addition, another student said, "I'm stingy with food and clothes, but I spend a lot of money on hobbies." Besides the impact of SNS and their consumption patterns, multi personas can be easily found in the media. Yoo san-seul and Pengsu are examples. In a famous TV show called What Would Playing Do, Yoo Jae-seok who is the most popular MC, changed to Yoo san-seul and made headlines working as a trot singer. Through the program, Yoo Jae-seok achieved his wish and was loved by many people. Pengsu also gained popularity by wearing a penguin mask on shows. As multi persona characters can be easily found around us, it is clear they are having an impact on our lives. They help relieve stress by allowing people to express different sides of themselves, as they make a rapid transformations between identities. In addition, people can focus more fully on themselves and maintain a higher-quality life in the process. For contemporary people living in a competitive and uncertain life, having different personas mean they have another chance to express themselves and free them from the binds of their daily lives. Multi personas, have also shrunk the gender gap. Individual preferences are being respected more than ever. In the past, men’s cosmetics and unisex clothes turned heads, but with the arrival of multi-personas, most of this is becoming routine. Multi personas allow people to freely change according to their individual tastes, regardless of their biologically determined sex. However, as many identities emerge, multi personas cause confusion of the ego identity. While it is becoming natural to express our various identities, it could eventually obscure the boundary between them. Thus, the multi persona, is a double-edged sword of pros and cons.
As different social networks allowed us to show a different perspective of ourselves, the multi personas we adopt when using them has become a new trend in the 21st century. Many people have multiple accounts on a single platform, expressing different personalities in each. They are known as ‘rinstar (real Instagram account)’ and a ‘finstar (fake Instagram account)’ accounts and companies are working diligently to target these personas in order to scale up businesses.
However, as mentioned, multi personas can confuse our own self-identity, so we must take time to figure out who we really are, among the many personalities we portray, and perhaps even consider finding our true selves once again.
|▲ People change their masks according to their circumstances. (Photo from Unsplash)|
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