An 18 year old’s identity over time

Using the readings and other sources create a blog post discussing ways/tools/choices that you would have to construct your identity if you were 18 in 1705, 1805, 1905, 2005


As an 18 year old in the 1700s, it would be difficult to put my identity out in the open for anyone to see.  Really the only way for everyone to see who you were was to appear in the newspaper. However, not many people were literate.  Really the only way for you to construct your identity would be through your interaction with others.  Most likely this identity would be the best reflection of who you really are since it is very difficult to constantly act like another person.


During this time, approximately 50 – 60% of the population was literate. If you look back to the 1800s, you will find that the majority of autobiographies were written by priests or nuns who were more than likely to read and write. There is a limited amount of material written by “common people”  As an 18 year old growing up in 1805, it is quite possible that I would have received some education and may even be capable of writing. However, its unlikely that I could use this to my advantage when constructing my identity. At this time, there wasn’t many ways to get your “story” out there unless you were very well known. Of course, it would be slightly easier than in the 1700s, but I still would have limited control over what others see.


The 1900s brought a huge change to cultural norms as well as technology and communication. Phones were being used along with radios.  This was a time when it constructing your identity began first started to drift away from personal interaction and to technology. In the case of radio stars, their physical appearance was hidden from the public which allowed them to construct their own identity. The 1900s also was a period where the idea of feminism started to become more widely known. This caused women to express themselves more freely and dress the way they wanted to, not necessarily the way society expected them to. (roaring twenties is a good example of this) Because of this I would have more freedom to express myself in the way that I dressed and acted in public.


2005 was a time where technology had really picked up the pace. From this point on, the internet would become the primary method of constructing an identity. People were finally beginning to experiment with social media, Myspace in particular. In addition to this, email and instant messenger were being used as a means of communication. As an 18 year old in 2005, I would have taken to Myspace to of course “cyber stalk” my peers and craft my online identity ( obviously to make myself look better). 2005 is a pretty momentous year in the internet world because of you tube! YouTube went live in 2005, which was created a completely new and refreshing outlet for expressing yourself. In 2005, I would use you tube to watch videos about things I was interested in, and if I was daring enough maybe even create my own videos. I definitely think this was a turning point in “digital identities” because people my age were finally getting to express themselves freely.  I think what makes this period really unique is that its he first time where you could really control what others would see and really begin to construct an identity.

As time goes own, it has gotten much easier for us to construct our own identity, and almost become that identity while online. It causes a disconnect between who we truly are and who we want to be. Rather than getting out there and socializing in order to get your identity out there, we know resort to online biographies and carefully edited instagram posts. Rather than letting people see every aspect of our lives, we highlight the good and never speak of the bad ( unless its to give us more attention of course)  In some ways its nice for those who are to shy to let people see their identities, but for the most part i think its caused us to drift away from out true self and expect a photo shopped life from everyone

Different Methods/Strategies on How To Identify Yourself Throughout Time

In the Early American years, it was very difficult to persevere a social presence. Most had to demonstrate power to be noticed, or to even be taken seriously. As the decades, centuries past, a social presence became a more attainable goal.

As a teenager in 1705, the availability of social media outlets were non-existent. In order to create or construct an identity for yourself, it would be necessary to go out in public and talk to those around you. Perhaps, being a bit more outgoing or friendly would gain the equivalent of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ that exist now, due to social media sites, such as Instagram or Twitter. One method for a young colonist would be to express your opinions on the taxations placed on the colonies by the King of England. Also the fact that the colonies were expanding at this time, one could travel the colonies and spread their presence in that respect.

For young adults in the time period of 1805, it was still a hard fought effort to generate a social presence. The 1800s was a time where churches were pivotal in society, so maybe they could have climbed the religious ladder in order to obtain some sort of social importance. Also, being a stable husband and father was well respected during this time period. Lastly, formal language could be used to identify yourself as educated and intelligent.

As we expand into the 20th Century, technology has advanced. Silent films, films with no recorded sound, were very popular, perhaps one could identify who they are through the movies or clips they watched. Another method, involves illiteracy. During this time period, illiteracy was a big issue in the United States, if you knew how to read and write you could have the impression that you are very smart. Also, New York City was popular place for people live, so perhaps one could socialize throughout the city and gain some sort of social presence.

Now, into the 21st Century, where social media platforms actually existed. Obviously, Facebook was invented in 2004 in order to bring friends to together in a unique way, just like Friendster (also available during this time). There was a vast selection of social media platforms in 2005, so it was very easy to identify yourself.

As you can tell, identifying yourself in the 16th Century was a lot more difficult to accomplish than it was in the 21st Century, due to the advancement of technology, obviously. That’s not always a positive attribute to put on the 21st Century, considering the fact that these ‘social’ networks have made us very antisocial. Hopefully as you are reading this you can notice the slight progression throughout history.



Works Cited:

Kang, Gurleen. “Society Roles in the Late 1800s.” 2 May 2013. Web. 1                 Sept. 2015.

“1990s News, Events, Popular Cultures and Prices.” What Happened in the 1990s                 News, Events, Popular Cultures, Prices, and Technology. 2004. Web. 1 Sept.               2015.

Wood. Jennie. “Timeline: Social Media.” Infoplease. Infoplease. Web. 1 Sept. 2015.