Social media often gets a bad rap. It’s where we’re at our ‘fakest’, where we compare ourselves to others, where we get into pointless debates and where we are antagonized by trolls.

That can all be true, but social media is also something else: a gift to anyone trying to figure out who the hell they are. And at the end of the day, isn’t that all of us?

With social media we’re no longer limited to digging through our brother’s record collection, or desperately watching late night TV to find signs of others we can identify with. Everything from the New York Drag scene to the exploding world of K-Pop is now at our fingertips. 

We get to bathe ourselves in the richness of it all and, most importantly, try things out with less push-back than in the real world. Walking down to the local pub in a whole new look can be a terrifying experience, but online we get to experiment and reinvent ourselves almost at will.

This safe space to explore isn’t just about finding new types of fashion to wear or new musicians to admire. For many people this is the only way of discovering there are others sharing their same experiences. It becomes a chance for people to be themselves and break free of the confines of the world they are immediately surrounded by.

Social media has created a more open world of identity, one where we all get to explore who we are. Often we’re finding our ‘true selves’ aren’t just one thing and that there’s no need to box ourselves into a corner with outdated labels.

By The Numbers

62%, The percentage of Gen Z who feels more comfortable expressing their true selves online, rather than in person. Identity Shifters RPA Report 2018

64%, the percentage of Gen Z who says social media makes them feel more authentic, rather than more fake (33%). Pew Research Center 2018

78%, the percentage of Gen Z who feel their generation is more open-minded than previous ones. PSFK x Suzy Report 2019

Photo Credit: Erika Kapin @erikakapin