Saturday, February 11, 2012

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions, So Make It a Good One

Dear Andrew Mendelson and Zizi Papacharissi:

I began to laugh as I read your article because, to me, it rings true. I have to agree with the statement about people wanting to "[emphasize] certain characteristics, through dress, hairstyle, behavior, and/or speech, while hiding or diminishing other characteristics perceived as flawed”. I, myself, have been guilty of choosing the best pictures to be my display pictures or to be uploaded as "Wall Photos". I believe that, on social networking sites, a picture is truly worth a thousand words, which tends to make users more self-conscious about the pictures they choose to display. Generally, your display picture is what attracts people to your profile -- not your interests, hobbies, etc. While in class, I overheard a girl say that she usually goes through someone's pictures before she accepts or sends a friend request. Self-representation is definitely a vital factor on social networking sites. Most of the time, people want to appear happier, more active, or more fun than they really are, so they upload photos where they are smiling, laughing, around other people, etc. You guys wrote: “There is an evidentiary purpose to personal photographs, providing proof of experiences and relationships for ourselves and others”. People want to show off the cool things they do, fashionable items they wear or different places they go; the easiest way to do this is to provide a visual image and upload the image to a social networking site. There is a guarantee that many people will see that image and have lots of positive things to say.  People tend to feed off of positive feedback and the results can be either positive, in return, or negative. People can become so consumed by the nice things that people have to say about them, which has resulted in the “Photoshop era”. Now, many users are trying to maintain this ‘perfect look’ that people respond positively to and they begin to use Photoshop to edit their pictures. Many people soften their face, lighten their skin, warp their bodies to have a bigger bust/butt or to appear skinnier, as well as hiding their flaws. Social networking was not made to show off how perfect you are; these sites were made to assist in networking and getting to know others. It is a little funny how it has been revamped and has become all about having the best photos.

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