The virtual world has constructed a new definition for freedom and communication. In this globalised world, it has changed the scenarios for all sorts of behaviours of individuals. It is affecting personalities and influencing mindsets. Ironically, people are completely different online as compared to what they are in real life. Subconsciously, certain set goals for the virtual world are achieved by presenting oneself in the most acceptable form. People don’t feel shy anymore on social media. Barry Wellman, a sociologist, said that the internet has shifted society to a network-based society and it keeps introducing new methods of interaction. Lately, new critical questions were raised regarding the pros and cons of social media and most importantly how it provides a doorway for “identity formation” to an individual. We may call it is a sort of propaganda for “self-projection” to achieve an ideal image on social media. People feel safe online about projecting their views and experimenting with self-disclosure in any way. The representation of the “self” here is very different from face-to-face interactions. You can control the environment of the virtual world. You can customise the settings on your social media accounts the way you desire. You can portray yourself as you desire and can always revise your disclosure. In contrast, real life is spontaneous and doesn’t allow revision. It is not controlled; but Facebook provides the ideal settings for the projection of an “ideal self”. This kind of identity formation is extremely symbolic involving hidden cues. For instance, people may prefer to post selfies only. Obviously, selfies are captured artistically. Users usually don’t post pictures unless they are looking their best. It’s not cliché anymore to work on your photos to look better before uploading them. Without any reluctance, people use the photo enhancing techniques to look better in pictures before posting them. Logically, users accept random requests on Facebook after inspecting their profile pictures first. It would not be very wrong to say that one may post photographs only to get the best compliments. One might think that doing all these efforts to look good and presentable is always intentional. No. This is not totally a conscious process. It is a symbolic meaning making process for any individual. This depends on how a person discloses himself to his audience on Facebook or any other social medium. It is alarming that users venture to present an ideal desired image online and wish to stick to it. Many scholars are involved in this area of research and they discovered that there are social anxieties an individual experiences while interacting not only in real life but during virtual communications also. These social anxieties lead an individual to adopt certain behaviours to improve their personality, which they may represent online. People tend to be more candid just because they want the desired attention. Otherwise, they freak out. They hate it when negative remarks are made about them. This is what the virtual world is doing to us Patti Valkenburg, a professor of communication, in her article about online communication among adolescents, states that the sense of individuality in virtual world is pervasively a manipulative act to form identities over cyber space expecting to get supportive and desired response from other participants. The Goffman’s theory takes on the contrasting identities an individual possesses. He provided a “Dramaturgical approach”. This means an individual “acts” while interacting in daily life. It is like a theatre play, where a performer acts for audience on the stage. After performance the actor goes back to the “backstage” and returns to their real self. Here, It is imperative to comprehend that performer will usually have distinguished roles. And the person’s performance on the stage is very controlled. That’s how it is easy to understand that “life is very much an acting because a performer may take on any role he or she wants. Quite a few times, a performer disseminates the belief among his audience that he is related to them in a more ideal way”. This phenomenon of stage acting can be related to self-presentation on social media where the profiles are the “stage” and the editing, typing, scrutiny and “straining” the images can be called as backstage behaviour. This explains well that how perceptions can be well made and altered using framed statements or photographs and deciding what should go online with specific measures. Then comes the fear of judgment and evaluation, which affects a person’s behaviour. People tend to be more candid just because they want the desired attention. Otherwise, they freak out. They hate to have negative remarks. This is what virtual world is doing to us. This has become a common psychological phenomenon. It is Narcissism when a person doesn’t believe in interpersonal warmth but is always willing to manipulate interactions. Such person is always dissatisfied with their image and uses different strategies to look better. That’s an addiction for self-love and such people are likely to be more involved in manipulated self-portrayal on the social media. It might be true that a narcissist may over-utilise self-projection in a much filtered way more often than others. A survey was conducted in a government institute asking students about their involvement in this phenomenon of self-representation on the social media. Different questions were asked from students. The most important question was about gender. It was asked which gender was more involved in self-presentation grounding on narcissism, idealised versions of self and factors like judgment anxieties resulting from online self-presentation on social media. According to results, males were more likely to be involved in these aspects. Social networking sites have become the primary means of social interaction in this age of globalisation. It allows people to play with multiple identities and exemplified personalities. It may be called the “looking-glass self-concept”, where a person’s self grows out of social interactions. This may leads us to Walther’s Hyper Personal Theory where computer mediated communication becomes hyper personal and impacts face-to-face interactions. This affects the real personality of an individual subconsciously. This widens the gaps between the real and the desired self. The constant seeking for peer validation and approval becomes an obsession and may lead to anxieties. Social media is an open platform for every kind of unbridled communication, which influences real life scenarios, psychologically. Let this social media not be a facilitator for our identity formation in a mediated way. Let us not be a part of this self-promotional race which may override and overrule our real persona. The writer can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, July 9th 2018.