Dynamics of Online Identity Creation - Katerina Dineva @ Glocal: Inside Social Media


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Dynamics of Online Identity Creation - Katerina Dineva @ Glocal: Inside Social Media

  1. 1. Dynamics of Online Identity Construction Dineva Katerina New York University, Skopje
  2. 2. <ul><li>Marshall McLuhan - The technologies are the “extension of the human ” </li></ul><ul><li>Computer-mediated communications media -dissolve social boundaries of time & space… Identity as well. </li></ul><ul><li>Key question - What role does Internet use or non-use play in building and transformation of this identity, in answering the ‘who am I’ question? </li></ul><ul><li>Further discussion: </li></ul><ul><li>- The fluid concept of identity; </li></ul><ul><li>- Comparison: Personal Homepages (static) VS. Social Media (dynamic) </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is Identity? It’s who you are! Who am I?
  4. 4. <ul><li>Identity- stage of development, occurring during the teenage years, but also reactivated at key life milestones such as parenthood or decline at old age ( Ericson 1974 ) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-concept </li></ul><ul><li>Part of the self “ by which we are known to others” ( Altheide, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>■ Identity construction=Public Process </li></ul><ul><li>▪ Identity announcement </li></ul><ul><li>▪ Identity placement </li></ul><ul><li>Goffman’s (1959) analyses of social interactions in face-to-face encounters, and various situational motivated presentations of the self (or selves) </li></ul><ul><li>Identity in cyberspace is offering up a fluid sense of self, projected onto an imaginary virtual body. (Texter, 1996) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>The Web - a medium which represents a radical departure from previous modes for the ‘presentation of self in everyday life’ . (Goffman 1969 ) </li></ul><ul><li>Personal becomes Public </li></ul><ul><li>How did it all start? </li></ul><ul><li>Early Internet Pre-Web - Online Services </li></ul><ul><li>Compuserve, AOL, Genie, Prodigy, Bulletin Boards, Microsoft Networks (became MSN) (since 1969) </li></ul><ul><li>Gopher, WAIS, Veronica, ARCHIE, SMTP (eMail), NNTP (Usenet), FTP, IRC (Chat) (since 1989) </li></ul>
  6. 7. Home Pages (Personal Websites) <ul><li>Asynchronous nature of home pages = </li></ul><ul><li>self-publishing medium </li></ul><ul><li>Able to produce webpages </li></ul><ul><li>'self-advertisement' </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo! GeoCities </li></ul><ul><li>The content of personal home pages - drawing on a palette of conventional paradigmatic elements </li></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><li>‘ One’s identity emerges from whom one knows, one’s associations and connections’ (Turkle 1996) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Show me what your links are, and I’ll tell you what kind of person you are’ (Miller 1995). </li></ul><ul><li>Links symbolize associations and significance for the individual self, and identity is constructed and legitimized by those associations. Turkle (1995) </li></ul><ul><li>Home pages are objects which enable their authors to think about their identity - Foucault’s ‘technologies of the self’ </li></ul><ul><li>“ A home in the real world is, among other things, a way of keeping the world out... An online home, on the other hand, is a little hole you drill in the wall of your real home to let the world in” - John Seabrook 1995 </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic Communication in Home Pages is not interpersonal interaction of the kind that Goffman was describing-self is developed and maintained, as well as presented, in interaction. </li></ul>
  8. 13. <ul><li>Performative Stage </li></ul><ul><li>Provide areas which are mediated and controllable, through which alternate performances can be displayed to others (boyd, 2006); </li></ul><ul><li>No physical trace of communicators; </li></ul><ul><li>Exist as pixels on a screen </li></ul><ul><li>Manipulative </li></ul><ul><li>Blurring between front–stage and back–stage; </li></ul><ul><li>Each identity can be simultaneous performer and audience of other performances </li></ul><ul><li>Users choose the depth of their engagement on a performance; </li></ul>
  9. 14. <ul><li>Playful </li></ul><ul><li>Simultaneously engaging in discursive events, conversations, and informational exchanges </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional bond maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Creates an aura of intimacy whilst maintaining a safe distance </li></ul><ul><li>Symbols of performative exchange can be replicated across networks. </li></ul><ul><li>From scrolling words on a screen to avatars moving like puppets through constructed environments </li></ul><ul><li>From broadcasting model - to Social Media </li></ul>Performative Stages Cont.
  10. 16. <ul><li>Social Networking Sites – SNSs </li></ul><ul><li>User generated content – interpersonal and mass communication; </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual identities - visually presented and narrated </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing yourself with others </li></ul><ul><li>Friend’s List - demonstrates popularity, proves membership of a social group, marks one’s status and also provides a way of getting to know new people. </li></ul><ul><li>Site design and philosophy may influence the identity performance - (video and music as well as the mixing of media) </li></ul><ul><li>- MySpace & Hi5 custom backgrounds & coded images </li></ul><ul><li>- Facebook mini applications </li></ul>
  11. 19. <ul><li>Wikis - “wikidentity” </li></ul><ul><li>Revolution in the way we understand information and knowledge creation processes </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative or cumulative knowledge endeavors that allow a user to add material and to edit and delete what previous users have done </li></ul><ul><li>Removes the role of the expert or hierarchy - relocates expertise within the group </li></ul><ul><li>Democratic philosophy - citizen subjects becoming active rather than passive consumers of information defined by the economic interests of the culture industries </li></ul><ul><li>“ wikidentity” becomes a particular, collaborative process that changes according to purpose, context, and form </li></ul>
  12. 20. How does all this affect users’ lifes? ♥ Blurred race, gender, sexual, ethnicity boundaries ♥ Users to become less inhibited and fearless ♥ People are free to explore the boundaries of self - feel comfortable in wide ranging roles (Communities welcoming gay and lesbian teens who are dealing with their sexuality) ♥ Sexuality and sexual behavior online (child pornography, pedophiles) ♥ Validity / Authentisity
  13. 22. <ul><li>Today </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiating multiple audiences creates context collisions </li></ul><ul><li>Teens gather online – social and cultural limitations </li></ul><ul><li>What takes place online is reproduced and discussed offline </li></ul><ul><li>SNSs mirror, magnify, and extend everyday social worlds </li></ul><ul><li>Always -on access to peer communication, new kinds of social pressures, public display of connectedness, and unprecedented access to information about others, new businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Technology inflects different aspects of sociality and peer social structures </li></ul>
  14. 24. <ul><li>‘ Information about the self is explicitly stated and can be managed by the person making the communication’ (Miller 1995). </li></ul><ul><li>Today this is a collective process </li></ul><ul><li>Connection between on and offline lives is challenging the notions of what constitutes as real experiences </li></ul><ul><li>SNSs are part of our identity - we are all real online </li></ul><ul><li>Our lives become transparent and easy accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly, different media and modes of communication facilitate and inhibit different patterns of behavior </li></ul>
  15. 26. Read, Write, Collaborate Live Web 3.0 -LifeStreaming “ An online record of a person's daily activities, either via direct video feed or via aggregating the person's online content such as blog posts, social network updates, and online photos.“ – Wordspy Lonelygirl15 – an early example of lifestreaming
  16. 27. Alienation of physically existing people; Lack of emotion; Lack of human touch; Out of your own skin…. Where are we headed? To what extent are SNSs part of our lives?