Social networks today are hugely successful because they satisfy some of these basic social needs: connecting people, forming "communities", creating spaces for dialogue and meeting. Networks are thus transformed into places where every person projects and constitutes a self that reflects their own merits, faults, beliefs, values, and even their own fears.
Before posting a post or sharing a photo on their profiles, people consciously or unconsciously ask themselves: what will others think of what I share? What does what I put on the net say about me? What image do I project?
This type of assessment responds to our need for self-esteem and recognition and also to the desire to emerge within our own social group to feel more important and to strengthen our self-esteem.
For a normal person this type of interaction in virtual communities is just one of the many references of their social lives, but for those who have problems with self-esteem it becomes a decisive aspect for their self-image.
We can therefore understand how on the Internet there are many people who, in their anxiety to appear and want to be like the person they admire, come to create false accounts or profiles of public figures. It does not matter that they started by wanting to flatter the admired person. In the end, it's a lie.
It is something that many people say they do in good faith, without intending to harm anyone, but unfortunately this is what they do, because in doing so a misunderstanding is created in many people. The situation is even more complicated when, to damage or defame someone, identities are stolen.
Moreover, this practice causes profound damage to the person who performs it: it prevents him or her from interacting with others in a sincere, free and authentic exchange, as it distorts the purpose of communication and a relationship from the beginning. Unfortunately, as Maslow argues, a lie-based relationship will continue to reinforce the feeling of helplessness and loneliness of the wearer of this type of mask.
We all seek acceptance and recognition and we want to be loved and admired; but many people who do not feel happy with themselves resort to this kind of behavior, which somehow proves to soothe their loneliness.
Social networks have great potential, but these types of behavior are becoming increasingly common, why Pope Francis has repeatedly invited everyone to beware of the perils online and to put intelligence at the service of truth and love, or our online interactions will be tinged with lies and division; in truth, then stands the basis for a useful and constructive dialogue and meaningful relationships.