The evolution of the internet identity:
The social media boom first captivated marketers years ago. Ever since, we’ve been predicting how the internet will change and how we’ll be able to forecast behaviours across different digital networks. Now that we’re deeply submerged in the evolution of these social media platforms, we can, with justification, say our predictions have become a reality. Not only do social media users have their personal and professional channels, but some now have multiple profiles on a single network!
Consider this—Instagram has created a feature that allows the user to easily set-up and manage multiple accounts from a single sign-on. Why is this important? Why is this relevant? Well, clearly, Instagram identified that there is a market for this—but for who?
So, why are people choosing to present themselves as multiple people?
The Theory of Digital Multiple Personality Disorder [DMPD]
What is the logic behind having multiple accounts? Keeping the millennial generation in mind (and considering the vastness of their individual audiences, ranging from friends to family, educators to marketers, etc.), a single person can have a unique persona to appease each of their unique audiences. This is where our theory of Splintered States of Me, or Digital Multiple Personality Disorder comes into play. DMPD is a millennial-driven phenomenon that has changed the way users view, broadcast and filter their web content.
- Millennials are aware of social privacy
- Millennials are aware of which channel is used for which conversation
- Millennials will switch channels or join new ones to be part of a certain conversation
- Millennials are social beings online and offline
- Millennials are reacting to changes in household norms around structured play, community access to roaming and access to friends
- Millennials are no longer interested in businesses’ offers
- Businesses are trying to understand how to connect with Millennials
Imagine a light prism and conceptualize that a white light—one whole unity of light—enters this prism. When the light passes through the prism, the white light is separated into its component colours—red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. This dispersion is characteristic of distinct wave frequencies. Comparatively, the white light can be symbolic of a person’s real form; each of her component colours can be representative of a different aspect of her personality across multiple social media accounts or logins.
There are three aspects you should consider when thinking about this:
First, who you are: You’re putting a lot of information about yourself out there. You’re filling out profiles, visiting websites and just generally active, digitally. Marketers can develop a composite of you based on this data.
Next, who you think you are: You intend to project a personal persona online. Across your various social media channels, you are presenting this persona to the digital world.
Finally, what you want others to see of you: You get to choose which aspects of your online persona you show different people. You can compartmentalize and, using different profiles and different platforms, present different parts of you to different people.
You have an image of yourself. The brands and people that you like, tag, and follow can reflect your personal image—the fashion follower, the adventure seeker, the foodie, etc.
The delta between who we are, who we show the world to be, and who we desire to be affect our day-to-day choices and how others interact with us. It’s causing depression, anxiety and personality disorders, and affecting people’s real-life choices. The net effect is too much pressure to be “the persona” who we have designed ourselves to be.
As marketers, the way that we position ourselves will depend on reinventing the schema in which we operate, and that includes taking into account the multiple personalities of the consumer, acknowledging their wants and fulfilling their needs. We need to make sure that we’re hitting the key points for their unique DMPD. Marketing omni-channel tracking and engagement tools have given us enough personalized data to respond to the needs and the experiences of our audience. We had been missing the big picture the entire time, but now we’re finally reaching an age of digital maturity where we can identify, measure and approach our audience in a way that taps into their needs versus their wants.
In our upcoming blog release we’ll examine:
- Who should care and why: Businesses, teens/people, and parents
- Why we are talking about it: Because it’s going to be the new norm
- Why it’s important: Design thinking, analytics, and digital marketing