Caught in a Digital                    Romance                   FMCS3100 Digital Culture – Production ProjectElizabeth Bo...
Profiles, iChat and Webcams Oh My!          “What was once understood as a valuable component of               American na...
The following e-presentation                          considers how the influx of technology                          and ...
Relationships are an integral component to the divine fabrics of humanity          and identity. Our notions of self, as w...
Let‟s Get                          Physical Digital                          The purpose of this project is to            ...
With the number of connected   users surpassing the entire   population of Japan, this dramatic   propagation of the Inter...
When Culture Goes Pop!       As a result, popular culture media has developed a fascination with      cyber social orders ...
Relationship Formation                           & Dissolution   Interpersonal relationships do not   come to exist as for...
„Rejected By 7 Different                     Technologies‟ CLICK TO WATCH: Excerpt from the 2009 feature film „He‟s Just N...
Digital Dating + Virtual Relating                          In their work „Digital Dating and                          Virt...
So How Do We Successfully Form A                 Relationship – Millennium-style?    According to Merkle and              ...
I Am A Sex-Machine                          This lends itself to consider the work of                          Susan Bordo...
This concept is portrayed, once again, in a scene from the feature film ‘He’s Just Not                                    ...
Marketing Identity: Individuals as                          Merchandise     Presenting ourselves to the world is a fundame...
Given our wider acceptance of commercial culture and the discourses         surrounding consumerism, it could be argued th...
Goffman defines the art of „self-presentation‟ as  “packaging and editing the self in order to create a  certain impressio...
Up-close &                          Personal                          Another principle development                       ...
Getting It On(line)     Ori Schwarz (2010) touches on the new role assumed by digital photography      in virtual romantic...
Beyonce – Video Phone    Once again, this movement has    been captured through popular    culture, and can be demonstrate...
If You Liked It Then You Shoulda Put A                   Ring Status On It    Researchers such as Reckwitz (2002) and     ...
The architecture of social media platforms relies on applications of status.       For example, in the case of allocating ...
Handle It Accordingly Virtually      Comparatively, the site has introduced a „break-up‟ notifier, allowing           its ...
„Was It Good For You?‟       So, do emergent social technologies transform the nature of romance and          intimacy? In...
References    •   Avedissian, L 2009, „Love @ First Sight or Love @ First Website‟, retrieved 20 October 2012,        http...
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FMCS3100 'Caught in a Digital Romance'

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  • 1 (Wysocki1998, p. 427).
  • 2 (Kraut et al., 1998).3 (Merkle& Richardson 2004).
  • 4 (Nunes, 1995, p. 314).5(Merkle & Richardson 2004).
  • 6 (Cooper & Sportolari1997).
  • 7 (Brehm1992; Merkle & Richardson 2004).
  • 8(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gGXylVz6KI)
  • 9 (Merkle & Richardson 2004).
  • 10 (Merkle & Richardson 2004, p. 189). 10 (Cooper & Sportolari1997; Kraut et al., 1998; Wysocki1998).
  • 11 (Bordo 1993). 12 (Williams1996).
  • 13 (Avedissian 2009).
  • 14(Goffman 1959).15 (Avedissian 2009).
  • 16 (Leary 1996).17 (Avedissian 2009).
  • 18 (Goffman1959)19(Ellison, Heino, & Gibbs 2006; Toma et al., 2008).
  • 20 (Hancock & Toma 2009).
  • 21 (Schwarz 2010, p. 152).
  • 22 (metrolyrics.com).
  • 23 (Reckwitz 2002; Schwarz 2010; Swidler 2001).24 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lCgYnKj8EQ).
  • 25 (Schnarch1997).
  • 26 (Schnarch1997).
  • 27 (Bawin-Legros 2004, p. 234). 28 (Bauman 2003).
  • FMCS3100 'Caught in a Digital Romance'

    1. 1. Caught in a Digital Romance FMCS3100 Digital Culture – Production ProjectElizabeth Bowen 3095561
    2. 2. Profiles, iChat and Webcams Oh My! “What was once understood as a valuable component of American national security has blossomed into an international social microcosm, where online communities are created, social networks thrive, business transactions occur, future marital partners are found, and even sexual desires can be fulfilled” - Wysocki, 1998 1Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    3. 3. The following e-presentation considers how the influx of technology and social media has veered the naturalistic conventions of romance and dating. Today, a field of research examines this developing civilization of virtual worlds and cyber-relationships, the complexities among its inhabitants, and how romantic interpersonal activities can come to exist in this seemingly inanimate and impersonal global matrix of computers.Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    4. 4. Relationships are an integral component to the divine fabrics of humanity and identity. Our notions of self, as well as the reality of the world surrounding us, are inevitably affected by our ability to construct and uphold „connections‟. When one examines contemporary practices, it becomes apparent that interpersonal relations have experienced a transformation during the last decade of the twentieth century. 2 These „connections‟, which were once established and maintained primarily via face-to-face interactions, have now come to be complemented by a digital sphere of social technologies that, in turn, is creating a new genre of interpersonal relationships. 3Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    5. 5. Let‟s Get Physical Digital The purpose of this project is to consider the ways in which modern technology (MySpace, Facebook and the like‟) have come to influence and shape the nature of relating to another individual in terms of a romantic relationship. Specifically, it will consider the modes of organic vs. digital courtship, the concept of computer-mediated relationships (CMR), the marketing of identities and self-management, and the argument that technology insights a pseudo-sexual approach to physical intimacy.Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    6. 6. With the number of connected users surpassing the entire population of Japan, this dramatic propagation of the Internet is prompting what Nunes (1995) describes as a „new civilization‟ – “one that exists on the shimmering surface of our computer screens”. 4 This contention can be somewhat buttressed by a recent Ziff-Davis Market Intelligence report indicating that e-mail, or electronically transmitted correspondence to another user, has endured as the most common use of the Internet. 5Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    7. 7. When Culture Goes Pop! As a result, popular culture media has developed a fascination with cyber social orders and the incessant perils of online romance. Such has inspired prolific social commentary as well as blockbuster narratives such as „Youve Got Mail‟ (a film dedicated to the tale of two strangers who discover love while using the Internet). Albeit, modern society has acknowledged this contemporary style of relationship across both academic and cultural planes. 6Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    8. 8. Relationship Formation & Dissolution Interpersonal relationships do not come to exist as fortuitous events; rather they are subject to a number of variables that determine the probability that two individuals will discover an affinity sufficient enough to form a relationship. These variables are likely to differ for computer mediated versus face-to-face relationships because of the distinctive environments in which each relationship comes to exist. 7Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    9. 9. „Rejected By 7 Different Technologies‟ CLICK TO WATCH: Excerpt from the 2009 feature film „He‟s Just Not That Into You‟, where Drew Barrymore‟s character Mary discusses new-age dating. 8Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    10. 10. Digital Dating + Virtual Relating In their work „Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships‟, Merkle and Richardson (2004) offer a comparison between computer- mediated and face-to-face relationships according to a number of dimensions: i. The process of relationship formation and dissolutions; ii. The nature of self-disclosure; iii. Methods of conflict management, and iv. The meaning of infidelity. 9Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    11. 11. So How Do We Successfully Form A Relationship – Millennium-style? According to Merkle and As users, we understand that the Richardson 2004, the global presence of the Internet: characteristics of computer mediated relationships:  Diminishes the need for spatial proximity between “represent a developmental and subjects; behavioral sequence far removed from customary methods of finding  The textual and graphical attraction and intimacy with based interface of e- another person”. 9 applications reduces the salience of physical Most research considering this attractiveness; social exchange perspective posits  E-communication permits that there exist numerous anonymity; and candid self- discrepancies between organic and emergent virtual modalities of disclosure becomes courtship. significant as the only meansElizabeth Bowen 3095561 for two users to know one another. 10
    12. 12. I Am A Sex-Machine This lends itself to consider the work of Susan Bordo (1993) in which she likens our body to a piece of machinery due to the advancements we have witnessed within both medicinal and scientific fields. Whilst Bordo‟s (1993) contentions have been branded slightly radical, her words hold some weight in a culture where cyberspace dating has interchanged personal, physical interaction. 11 For example, when one enters a virtual relationship they begin dating the tools of social softwares (cameras, instant messaging etc.). Services that wish to project an extension or representation of an individual, but are not essentially an individual. The traditional milestone of carnal or bodily knowledge is unattainableElizabeth Bowen 3095561 here. 12
    13. 13. This concept is portrayed, once again, in a scene from the feature film ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’: Mary: “I like him, I mean, you know, he probably hasn‟t called yet or anything cause we just had coffee last night, I mean we video i-chatted while holding coffee. That‟s the same right?” Co-worker 1: “um, yeah”. Mary: “oh hi, ….. he asked me out!” Co-worker 2: “he called!” Mary: “well no” Co-worker 2: “he emailed!” Mary: “uh no” Co-worker 1: “what? He left his calling card with your lady in waiting?” Mary: “He MySpaced me.” Co-worker 1: “ouch” Co-worker 2: “oh girl, I don‟t know about that. My trampy little sister says MySpace is the new booty call.” Mary: “Well what am I supposed to do? I mean things have changed, people don‟t meet each other organically anymore, you know? If I would like to make myself seem more attractive to the opposite sex, I don‟t go and get a new haircut, I update my profile, that‟s just the way it is, you know?”. 13Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    14. 14. Marketing Identity: Individuals as Merchandise Presenting ourselves to the world is a fundamental and complex process, one that has been further complicated by communication technologies that allow us to self-present online. 14 Avedissian (2009) reflects on this activity, commonly referring to it as the „marketing of identities‟. In her work, she states that many of the apparatuses of cyber-dating employ “individuals as merchandise to be sold during the initial meeting stage”. 15Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    15. 15. Given our wider acceptance of commercial culture and the discourses surrounding consumerism, it could be argued the reliance on „initial- impression management‟ is not an entirely novel concept. Cultural signifiers of dress, speech, gesture, body language and so forth represent this value, too, in our offline contexts. Yet, perhaps through digitalizing romantic playing fields, the tools of social softwares have stretched the boundaries of this social practice, in turn, naturalizing its hyper- performance. 16 Like the advertising broadcasts from our television sets disseminate the certain ideologies necessary for target markets to purchase products, a Facebook profile peddles the ideologies necessary for the social group that constitutes the audience („followers‟, „friends‟, „potential partner‟ – what have you) to purchase the merchandise; in this case the profilee. 17Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    16. 16. Goffman defines the art of „self-presentation‟ as “packaging and editing the self in order to create a certain impression upon the audience”. Online daters make self-presentational choices regarding what information to disclose, how to disclose it, and whether or not to engage in deception, such that the profile attracts desirable potential mates. 18 According to the research of Hancock and Toma (2009), these self-presentational choices are characteristically guided by two underlying tensions: i. Self-enhancement, or daters desire to appear as attractive as possible in order to be noticed by potential mates; ii. Authenticity, or the need to appear honest in their description of themselves. 19Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    17. 17. Up-close & Personal Another principle development with the emergence of profile- based social networking sites concerns what academics refer to as „the laws of attraction‟. Now, online self-presentations are no longer limited to text-based descriptions. The profile photograph has become a central component of online self-presentation, and one that is paramount to relational success. 20Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    18. 18. Getting It On(line) Ori Schwarz (2010) touches on the new role assumed by digital photography in virtual romantic relationships in his work „Negotiating Romance in Front of the Lens‟. The ubiquitous applications of digital cameras, he contends, “have been incorporated into multiple scripts of courtship, reconciliation, erocticism, and relationship formation”. Further, he suggests that due to the medium being semiotically laden, photographic exchange in romantic contexts is more structured and selective than in platonic conditions. Beyond the realms of tangibility, this form of imagery serves as a tool for the production of romantic moments more so than perhaps in the offline context of face-to-face relationships. 21Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    19. 19. Beyonce – Video Phone Once again, this movement has been captured through popular culture, and can be demonstrated in Beyonce‟s hit single „Video Phone‟ ft. Lady Gaga. The following excerpt from the song‟s lyrics signify this new age custom and how virtual applications extend the perceptual connectedness between users associated with intimacy: “You saying that you want me? …If you liking this position you can tape it So press record and let you film On your video phone me I never seen a smile so pretty On your video phone I need to know Ill always have you wit me Make a cameo So take your picture on my video phone You can pick your own song Tape me on your video phone And you could be the only one”. 22 If you want me you can watch me on your video phone…Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    20. 20. If You Liked It Then You Shoulda Put A Ring Status On It Researchers such as Reckwitz (2002) and CLICK TO WATCH: The following scene from Swidler (2001) contend that with regards to the 2010 feature film „The Social Network‟, virtual communities, the constitution of depicts Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg romantic ties should be considered from a (played by Jesse Eisenberg) discussing the praxis-oriented perspective. Meaning, this need for relationship status online: 24 form of perceptual connectedness is a product of performance and negotiation. If relationships types are embodied in and differentiated by the activities the parties share in relation to one another, then at least some of these activities will function performatively as statements negotiating the relationship‟s status. Here, individuals rely on cultural codes in the formation and cementing of connections, but moreover, they are in turn constrained by knowledge of how their actions will be interpreted by others. 23Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    21. 21. The architecture of social media platforms relies on applications of status. For example, in the case of allocating romantic status on Facebook the user is allowed a hierarchy of options. Those who wish to do so can disseminate alert notifications to their respective publics signifying the milestone of exclusivity in a relationship. Facebook also extends the option of having a link embedded as part of users biographical information, sending audiences to the page of their prospective partners. This activity operates as a component of the user‟s „social CV‟, appearing alongside accolades such as employment, tertiary study etc. Research suggests that this not only helps to signify the relationship constitutively (in both a virtual and offline sense), but further reflects the Inclination for people to assign ownership over another within the virtual arena. 25Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    22. 22. Handle It Accordingly Virtually Comparatively, the site has introduced a „break-up‟ notifier, allowing its users to communicate the dissolution of a relationship in a sweeping press release, much like the role of public relations for celebrities or public figures. This service also allows relative publics to „like‟ the event, by hitting a status button and furthermore provides a „Comment‟ section for discussion. 26Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    23. 23. „Was It Good For You?‟ So, do emergent social technologies transform the nature of romance and intimacy? Insofar as these online connections are mediated by the technologies of a contemporary world, efforts to understand their impact on the nature of courtship must be located in a broader set of questions about the nature of self and identity in a global era. Within current research, the dominant theoretical frameworks for understanding digital relations are espoused by a shared belief that we exist in a time of de-traditionalization. It appears, as Bawin-Legros (2004) argues, that if we are to view the transformative possibilities of digital romance then what we are faced with can be described as “a new sentimental order”. 27 Critics such as Bauman (2003) suggest that the art of loving has been substituted by a commodified imitation, in other words „the love experience‟. Yet, it appears reasonable to suggest that online dating activities have produced new norms and opportunities for interaction, while negotiating the traditional values and networks in which intimacy transpires. 28Elizabeth Bowen 3095561
    24. 24. References • Avedissian, L 2009, „Love @ First Sight or Love @ First Website‟, retrieved 20 October 2012, http://laraavedissian.blogspot.com.au/2009_04_01_archive.html. • Bauman, Z 2003, Liquid Love, Cambridge: Polity Press. • Bawin-Legros, B 2004, „Intimacy and the new sentimental order‟, Current Sociology, vol. 52, iss. 2, pp. 241-50. • Brehm, S 1992, Intimate relationships, New York : McGraw-Hill. • Bordo, S 1993, „Material Girl: The Effacements of Postmodern Culture‟, Michigan Quarterly Review, vol. 24, pp. 123-135. • Cooper, A & Sportolari, L 1997, „Romance in cyberspace: Understanding online attraction‟, Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, vol. 22, pp. 7–14. • Ellison, N, Heino, R, & Gibbs, J 2006, „Managing impressions online: Self-presentation processes in the online dating environment‟, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 11, pp. 345-361. • Facebook Relationship Status, 2010, online video, accessed 20 October 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lCgYnKj8EQ. • Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor. • Hancock, J T & Toma, C L 2009, „Putting your best face forward: the accuracy of online dating photographs, Journal of Communication, vol. 59, iss, 2, pp. 367-386. • Kraut, R, Patterson, M, Lundmark, V, Kiesler, S, Mukopadhyay, T, & Scherlis, W 1998, „Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being‟, American Psychologist, vol. 53, pp. 1017–1031. • Leary, M R 1996, Self-presentation: Impression management and interpersonal behavior, Boulder, CO: Westview Press. • Merkle, E R & Richardson, R A 2004, „Digital dating and virtual relating: conceptualizing computer mediated romantic relationships, Family Relations, vol. 49, iss. 2, pp. 187-192. • Metro Lyrics, Beyonce – Video Phone, accessed 20 October 2012, http://www.metrolyrics.com/video-phone-lyrics-beyonce- knowles.html. • Nunes, M 1995, „Jean Baudrillard in cyberspace: Internet, virtuality, and post-modernity‟, Style, vol. 29, pp. 314–327. • Reckwitz, A 2002, „Toward a theory of social practices: a development in culturalist thinking‟, European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 5, iss. 2, pp. 243-263. • Rejected By 7 Different Technologies, 2010, online video, accessed 20 October 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gGXylVz6KI. • Schnarch, D 1997, „Sex, intimacy, and the internet‟, Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, vol. 22, pp. 15–20. • Schwarz, O 2010, „Negotiating romance in front of the lens, Visual Communication, vol. 9, iss. 2, pp. 151-169. • Swidler, A 2001, Talk of Love: How Culture Matters, Chicago & London: Chicago UP. • Toma, C, Hancock, J T, & Ellison, N 2008, „Separating fact from fiction: An examination of deceptive self-presentation in online dating profiles‟, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 43, pp. 1023–1036. • Williams, M 1996, Intimacy and the Internet, Contemporary Sexuality, vol. 30, iss. 9, pp. 1–11. • Wysocki, D K1998, „Let your fingers do the talking: Sex on an adult chat-line‟. Sexualities, vol. 1, pp. 425–452.Elizabeth Bowen 3095561

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