Today: Death, media and the media life perspective Online memorials, witnessing death online, immortal digital lives, what it means that we can no longer forget. Pro-ana: a web community where identity and relationships are disembodied. What does pro-ana have to do with death and the media life perspective? In-class discussion
Our digital souls have the potential to be truly immortal. But do we really want everything we've done online - offhand comments, camera-phone snaps or embarrassing surfing habits - to be preserved for posterity? One school of thought, the "preservationists", believes we owe it to our descendants. Another, the "deletionists", think it's vital the internet learns how to forget.
“The thing is you never really get out of the relationship.” “you cannot de-boyfriend yourself.”
It's hard to forgive and forget if you can no longer forget.
More than a quarter of a million Facebook users will die this year alone. The information about ourselves that we record online is the sum of our relationships, interests and beliefs. It's who we are. - Hans-Peter Brondmo
In his 2009 book Delete, Mayer-Schönberger proposed that we should build technology that forgets gracefully. Files might come with expiry dates, he suggests, so that they simply vanish after a certain point. Or they might "digitally rust", gradually becoming less faithful unless we make a concerted effort to preserve them. Perhaps files could become less accessible over time - like consigning old photos to a shoebox in the attic rather than displaying them on the wall.
How does Pro-ana connect to what we know about the Media Life Perspective? Relationships and identity are disembodied. Meaning is made and documented in media. The body is just a hollow vessel for the spirit. The identity one portrays in media is everything! Both death and Pro-ana show how networked individualism (a concept we use in economics and sociology) can be applied to our fundamental experiences of being human. The body, which is geographically situated, becomes just part of the stories we tell in media about ourselves. It is secondary to the meaning we get from creating an identity (reality) and making connections and fostering relationships with others.
Daphna Yeshua-Katz Summer Media Life Pro-ana blogs: Motives and benefits
Pro-ana websites: definition A genre of websites disseminating information about eating disorders, primarily anorexia nervosa, and providing girls and women with a forum to discuss and share information about anorexia (Dias, 2003).
The pro-ana phenomenon Anorexia as a life style not a disorder. Community forming and interpersonal relations are higher priorities for the site users than forming a coherent philosophy (Overbeke, 2008). Pro-ana often comes with aversion to recovery (Williams & Reid, 2007).
My ED Diary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPEe5o1Ves4&NR=1
Why study? A legitimate community for women suffering from ED, created by the Internet (Dias, 2003; Norris et al., 2006; Gavin et al. ,2008) Creating outrage in public domain (Giles, 2006) No data about actual internet use of individuals with ED’s (Giles ,2006; Chelsey et al.,2003)
Research question What are the pro-ana bloggers motivations to publish a blog? What are the pro-ana bloggers perceived benefits of publishing a blog?
Pro-ana blogging: The U&G approach (Katz et al. 1974) Perceived benefits Motives Eating disorder Blogging Other consequences Social & Psychological origins Needs Media Use Need gratifications Other consequences
Pro-ana blogs: motives Connecting (Burleson et al. 1994; Dias, 2003) Coping (Sundar et al.,2007; Hu, 2009) Identity construction (Dias, 2003; Sundar et al., 2007)
Pro-ana blogs: benefits Cognitive change (Esterling et al., 1999, Nardi et al.,2003; Hu, 2009) Emotional benefit ( Sundar et al., 2007; Hu, 2009) Behavioral change (Burleson, 1994; Esterling et al.,1999, Lipczynka, 2007)