ALC203 Portfolio part 1
Am I really who I portray online?
The construction of personal identity is always the result of a competition (both internal with ourselves and external with others) between what is disclosed and what is hidden about us (Durante, 2011, p. 596). I don’t share my entire personal life online. Just the best part. As Durante explains personal identity is to be understood as the unending result of a selection of information that forges a meaningful difference (i.e., the Self) between what we wish to unfold and what we wish to keep secret (2011). We can now represent, manipulate and communicate with the world in ways unimaginable a hundred years ago, so our lives and culture have inevitably changed in the process (Qvortrup, 2006, pp. 4-5).
Constructing a personal identity is an activity much more complex than elaborating a series of online profiles, which are only digital hints of the Self. (Durante, 2011, p. 594). I do use my real name, I share photos and events from my real life, my own thoughts and passions. Still, it is not really ´me´, simply because I don’t share everything that goes on in my everyday life.
Audience is critical to context (Durante, 2011, p. 612). When trying to determine what is socially appropriate to say, or what will be understood by those listening, knowing one’s audience matters (2011, p. 612). Poletti and Rak (2013 p. 83) write that online identities are easily manipulated at any time by the individual subject or by others and this ability to `manage` online content at will is changing the way we see ourselves and each other. My friends and followers don’t get to see the entire Sunday I spent in bed binge-watching Netflix, being anything but productive. That`s not something I want to share nor is it in anyone’s interest to see. On the other hand, they will certainly get a glimpse of my epic day at the mountain, snowboarding with friends. Deeply documented in both text and pictures of powder snow, sun and a bluebird sky (1).
(1) One of many epic days spent on the mountain instead of in class. Screen capture from my Instagram profile @chrisfriden
On Facebook, I am a young, playful spirit with a yearning for travel. I value family, friendships and meaningful choices in life. I have an interest in social causes and am curious about the cool creative ways which we can improve our lives, and look after the planet. I am enchanted by the world, unsolved mysteries and the future.
I see social media as a way of keeping connected to my friends and family, which is perfect for my global citizenship. I am always looking for new experiences to contribute to my growth as a person and to learn about all the cultures around the world. I am a social animal. I have an open mind and my view of the world is that of hope, joy, and love filled with great music, epic views, and family, friends and good times. I am a young person with a heart of gold that is driven by a need to find new, adventures, stories and exciting and challenging ways to express myself and live happily ever after, as me.
I share both good and bad aspects of my life. In 2014 I uploaded a picture of myself with a severe allergy reaction to a Jackfruit (2). With the photo came no explanation. The only people who knew was the people who really knew me. A couple of months ago I posted a cheeky photo of myself in Thailand holding up a paper saying I´m deadly allergic to nuts, written in both English and Thai (3). These photos are perfect examples of me showing of ´Hey, look at me guys. I´m having fun and am out exploring the world, in a risky way…´.
(2) How much jackfruit is to much jackfruit? Screen capture from my Facebook.
(3) Living on the edge. In Thailand they serve everything with peanuts. Screen capture from my Instagram profile.
Because of my yearning to travel and showing of where I am, it brings me to another subject; Location-tagging. Going through my Facebook profile pictures they all have that one thing in common. Where I am and what I am doing seems to be the main reason I´ve chosen to post those particular images. I have come aware I´m a big fan of Geo-tagging. That is pretty stupid, considering my already awareness of the consequences of sharing too much on social media and keeping my accounts private from the public eye. It all started with a worried mom. that evolved into a paranoid voice in my head, saying that if something happened to me, it would be easier to locate me through tracking my geo-tags. After the paranoia wore off the Geo-tag-habit kind of sticked. And it is indeed a big part of the self-bragging. ´Here I am, living the dream. What are you doing? ´. While Facebook was originally a personal space to share information about oneself, it has also become a common venue for sharing external content with one’s network (Oeldorf-Hirsch, Sundar, 2015).
We live in a world of sharing, not caring. Whenever a big issue grasps my attention, a current news event, something happening in the world, or threatening our global society, people couldn’t care less. No likes for sharing that. Oeldorf-Hirsch and Sundar write (2015) receiving comments on shared content will lead to a greater sense of influence than not receiving comments on shared content, by way of feeling a greater sense of community. I can relay to that even though I don`t really ´count´ likes. It´s just a bit upsetting that the really important stuff is in the shadow of less important self-glorifying-brag.
The way people define themselves, or their self-construal, affects how they interact with others. (Chang, 2015, p. 1). I am political engaged and environment concerned. But it´s first when I post something funny, awkward or just a regular photo of me with a new hair cut the like button heats up.
What the people want. Screen capture from my Facebook profile.
I care therefore I share.
Probably my most liked tweet. #peoplerelate
When I first started reflecting over my online identity.
Tweets embedded from my @chrisfriden profile respectively.
Young people are enabled, as digital natives and social network users, to co-construct the “context of communication” in which their narrative identities will be interpreted and understood (Durante, 2011, p. 594). Going through my photos on Instagram I find that they evolve around travel, art, adventure and epic scenery. They are often linked to my Facebook and Twitter profiles. While my Instagram account has always been private (Now open because of the ALC203 unit) and Facebook really restricted, I still tend to share some of my private posts on Twitter. Oeldorf-Hirsch and Sundar (2015) explains in ‘Posting, commenting, and tagging´ that receiving likes on a post is evidence that people saw the post and are indicating approval of it, or even recommending it.
The power of self-identification is confronted with the power of being identified by someone else (Durante, 2011, pp. 601-602). Looking at my online personas through how I portray myself online I seem to have a pretty amazing, easy-going life, filled with adventures and great fun. Well, as I am writing this it´s 2 AM and I have been sitting in front of a computer since the birds started to sing this morning. I`m not overly active on social media and my sharing (and caring) of content reflects that. It comes and goes, like waves.
Digital media can dehumanise and alienate people, Creeber and Martin write (2009, pp. 162-163) digital media has reduced the need for person-to-person contact and is to an extent altering the definitions of what it means to be human (2009). I agree that it can be a limitation. We loose sight of the lives of friends and family in the big pond of social media interactions. But it can also keep you closer and connected to your dearest if you, for say, live half a world apart.
My broader online activity and engagement
Because of the ALC203 unit I have become more active on Twitter and I have my profile @Chrisfriden to prove it. From the beginning I´ve posted material that is relevant to the unit hashtag. Lately I´ve had an urge to communicate more with the people involved, in the same way as when you see a hysterical video on Facebook and you tag your best friend- Because you want them to get a good laugh out of it to. In this case it´s more about sharing content of interest that relates to the unit, but also coming together in these stressful weeks of assignment dues.
Oeldorf-Hirsch, A & Sundar, SS 2015, ‘Posting, commenting, and tagging: Effects of sharing news stories on Facebook’, Computers in Human Behaviour, vol. 44, pp. 240-249 10p. retrieved 16 April 2016, EBSCOhost.
Creeber, G, & Martin, R 2009, After new media: everywhere always on, Digital cultures, Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press, 2009. retrieved 16 April 2016, EBSCOhost.
Qvortrup, L 2006, ‘Understanding New Digital Media’, European Journal of Communication, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 345-356, retrieved 15 April 2016, EBSCOhost.
Durante, M 2011, ‘The Online Construction of Personal Identity through Trust and Privacy’, Information (2078-2489), vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 594-620, retrieved 15 April 2016, EBSCOhost.
Chang, C 2015, ‘Self-construal and Facebook activities: Exploring differences in social interaction orientation’, Computers in Human Behaviour, vol. 53, pp. 91-101 11p, retrieved 15 April 2016, EBSCOhost.
Poletti, A, & Rak, J 2013, Identity technologies : constructing the self online, Madison, Wisconsin : The University of Wisconsin Press, retrieved 17 April 2016, EBSCOhost.