Monday, February 13, 2012

negotiating online/offline identities on facebook

Dear Mendelson and Papacharissi,

I find it really interesting and completely true that college age students use their facebook pictures as self presentation and as a visual autobiography for themselves and their facebook friends. Since SNS begin to take over with myspace and since digital cameras have become cheap and easily accessible to a larger population, young people feel the need to constantly record every social aspect of their lives but more than for themselves they do it for their facebook friends, as you mention, their identity is "performed."

This performance is then something that as the younger generations open facebook accounts will see as what they have to behave/look like when they are in college. This is much like in Negotiating Identities/Queering Desires: Coming Out Online and the Remediation of the Coming Out Story, where Gray discusses the case of Amy who lives in rural Kentucky and is bisexual. In a rural setting, "sexualities and genders are best understood not as an unfolding state of biological fact confirmed in a moment of visually and textually-mediated recognition but residues of complicated dialogues-re-circulations of coming-out narratives  -- that increasingly involve digitally-mediated renderings of LGBTQ identities complete with particular ways to dress, look and speak."(Gray, 1164)

From personal experience it seems that a person from generation Y has the need to constantly be accompanied by one of more people, and so in my point of view it is only logical that they would extend this to a place like facebook, where they extend their lives virtually. Just like in Finding New Worlds, Taylor discusses how when playing the game on/offline the exact same rules stand, and the players always remain in character. "A man shows up and starts handing out roses...he makes clear all Bailerbents women will get one...he is known for handing out 'virtual flowers' in the game," and now "...he is mimicking his online identity and actions, how he is performing a kind of offline incarnation of his online persona." (Taylor, 5)

Today in facebook college students use personal photos, "photographs made by ourselves, members of our family, or peer group for  our own use, nut by professional photographers and not for mass audience."(Mendelson, 254) Although college students do intend these pictures, many of them with alcohol and minors, risque nude, etc., to be for a more private circle, you guys don't really touch upon the fact that these pictures do not remain personal. These, wild pictures, are able to be shot because the person being photographed is comfortable with the photographer but once these pictures go up on facebook they can be seem by anyone, even if the private settings are on.

I would therefore like to know if college students are then renegotiating their on/offline identities that will end up on facebook due to the heightened sense of being watched by future employers, schools, etc?

This video, although is a mock, pretty much sums up the ritual of picture taking just to put up on facebook

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