Identities are social. We don’t know who we are until we see how to fit in or stand out from others.
Before people owned mirrors, they saw themselves as extensions of their tribe and God. It wasn’t until the fifteenth century did the mirror introduce people to their individuality. Mirror owners then went on to have their portraits done to reinforce the importance of their self-worth.
Unless you’re a Narcissist, the mirror today is for making edits: to your hair, face, and to brush your teeth. The modern-day mirror is the selfie, the results of having a mobile camera. We use our phones to project our identity onto the world.
Likes and comments are a validation of our uniqueness. Like portraits of past, Facebook and Instagram invite the viewer to “Look at me!” We all become quasi-celebrities. It’s hard to be a true individual, a purple cow, in an age of Internet ubiquity.
So how do you stand out? You don’t. You disconnect. The more unplugged you are, the more mysterious and different you seem to appear. The new individualism is again offline and mirrorless.