Monday, February 13, 2012

Online Identity

To Mendelson and Papcharissi,

I found your piece "Look at Us: Collective Narcissism in Facebook Photos" to be thought provoking.
The idea that the pictures we post on Facebook, and as our default pictures, are made to reinforce our social values and norms. I think this is evident because pictures are taken to capture moments.
I do not know if the action of selecting a picture as a default is entirely linked to this idea. Or, more generally, I do not know if pictures are taken with these thoughts in mind.
There have been times when I am at a gathering with friends and I just take pictures. I did not really have an intention to capture any specific actions or memories. I was just simply taking pictures for the sake of it.
They did end up on Facebook, but there was not even much notice to them. I am sure people may have looked through them, but there were no "likes" or "comments". I did not feel upset about this, as I did not care for the images myself. To me, I did not feel like it proved that since I was at a party with other people, that I have "friends".

I understand, though, that some people may feel an internal need for reinforcement on such things and value these Facebook tags and relationships. And these are likely the same people to value the Facebook "relationship status". Because Facebook says so-and-so is single, he must be! This is a depressing aspect of the site, that harms many relationships. The fact that it has actually become part of relationship formation.

People are obsessed with social media and Facebook and themselves, constantly updating and tagging and building these virtual identities. There is nothing private anymore and people lose their real world selves.
What would we do if Facebook was erased? If Facebook had never existed?

- M.

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