Class notes: Online identity

Posted: September 17, 2013 in Class notes
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Last night in class we talked about 2 main ideas:

  1. What is that self that is (re)presented online? How does the self come about? Is the self something we have or something we do?
    This came about from the last 2 articles (Ellison & Gurmuck) on online presentation of “real” offline selves.
  2. How is the self (re)presented/performed/enacted/created online? The concepts of performance and exhibition from the Hogan and Zhao readings helped here.

In the process, we also learned of some major theoretical frameworks that can help us understand (online) identity: symbolic interactionism, Goffman’s self-presentation, and performativity (Judith Butler).

I invited you to organize your thoughts around 3 main questions:

  1. What happens to identity (self-presentation/performativity) when we take it online?
  2. What research questions related to your own interests emerge? (there are many connections here that I hope you will explore in blog posts)
  3. What does this all mean for your own personal online identity management? On this note, I invite you to watch this very beautiful short movie and let me know what you think about it. Please interact with this post by liking, rating, or preferably commenting. Remember that following this blog is an important class requirement, and so is online participation. I cannot know if you read it unless you leave some digital trace…

  1. dougpruim says:

    I found myself riding a wave of emotions throughout the video. It was a digital life from birth to death. As it began, I was intrigued and excited (and scared for this new FB citizen). I eagerly watched him grow and then started wincing at the naïve, youthful mistakes of oversharing. Then as life happened back and forth with ups and downs, I was saddened that life had so little privacy. I watched him struggle to find himself and grew restless for him. Then when he found this stranger online I was intrigued. I didn’t know how to feel … happy or disapproving. But then as the digital bled back into the actual and life took off, I was relieved and hopeful. And when he finally went to “logout” from his life (as his pictures became older and older), I had a twinge of sadness that I might miss him.
    My overall impression is that this idea of online presentation is really an extension and expression of the performativity of our “actual” messy “real” lives.

  2. annerstark says:

    Thank you for the summary!

  3. ajstark739 says:

    I find this to be an interesting commentary on living and learning in today’s online world. Do all of these parts (postings) equal the whole (life)? Sadly this is probably true. iIn just a few short generations we have begun to chronicle our entire lives online. There a currently organizations that are attempting to predict what people will post next. They are also trying to use this information to allow people to “post” from beyond the grave. Does social media and the collection of this information provide a formal of immortal life. Even after the subject “logged out” the artifacts continued to exist on Facebook. Will this generation’s children be looking back on Mom and Dad’s Facebook wall or Twitter feed to remember the good times?