1.82 Billion 1.78 Billionpeople access people accessthe web by via web-phone connected PCs The Guardian, Wednesday 14th April 2012
“A focus on Identity requires us to pay closer attentionto the ways in which media and technologies are used ineveryday life and their consequences for social groups”David Buckingham
“Identity is complicated- everybody thinks they’ve got one” David Gauntlett
What is Collective Identity?Representation: the way reality is ‘mediated’ or ‘re-presented’ to us;Collective Identity: the individual’s sense of belonging to a group (part ofpersonal identity).
Lots of research has focused on the ways in which people use Social Media Sites(SMS) to construct a presentation or representation of themselves.Two theorists:David Buckingham “Youth, Identity and Digital Media”Zizi Papacharissi “A Networked Self – Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites”
Thoughts on Social Media Sites:“These network platforms of socially orientated activity permit anintroduction of the self via public displays of connection”“A networked presentation of the self involves performativeelements, using a variety of tools and strategies to presenttastes, likes, dislikes, affiliations and in general, personality”“Such a performative palette on sites like Facebook mightinclude listings of interests, posting of comments and responses,and posting and labelling of photographs of one’s self and one’sfriends” Mendelson & Papacharissi
“The manner in which college students portray themselves and tagothers through photographs on Facebook is a contemporary means ofintroducing the self and performing ones identity.”“College students consciously upload and tag displayed photographs,thus selecting certain subjects and events to emphasise.”This links with Chalfens (1987) examination of “how we construct,manipulate, interpret, live with, participate in, and generally usevisual symbolic forms.” The constructed nature of identity isparticularly interesting for this unit.This ties in with Roland Barthes and Semiotics: certain visual signs orsymbols have a connotative value within Western society. They areunderstood as possessing symbolic meaning – e.g. the Red rose issymbolic of love; a tear is symbolic of sadness.
This part of the Collective Identity unit will give you the opportunity toexamine how visual imagery is employed to present the self andeveryday college life via Facebook.You will study and interrogate the photographs college studentspresent of themselves as important forms of symbolic creation oftheir worlds.
Lets start with some Facebook facts: Are you average?
Are we missing any typical profile pictures?Look at your profile picture. What does it sayabout you?What about your friends? What is theconnotative meaning of their profile picture?Does their profile picture match their real worldidentity?
In everyday life, people consciously and unconsciously work to define theway they are perceived, hoping to engender positive impressions ofthemselvesThis effort entails emphasizing certain characteristics, through dress,hairstyle, behaviour, and/or speech, while hiding or diminishing othercharacteristics perceived as flawed, depending on the context.Goffman (1959) uses the term “performance” to refer to “all the activity of agiven participant on a given occasion which serves to influence in any wayany of the other participants”.Contemporary scholars like David Buckingham agree with Goffman thatidentity is performed; whether or not that performance is virtual or real,offline or online.
Facebook PhotosPersonal photographs dominate Facebook. Personal photographs arephotographs made by ourselves, members of our family, or peer groupfor our own use, not by professional photographers and not for massaudiencesWe might think that personal photographs would be haphazard: justpoint and shoot.Chalfen (1987) and Musello (1980) argue that they are highlyritualized and conventionalized, with a rather limited range ofsubjects being recorded.
Personal photographs present ideals, emphasizing how we wish ourlives to be remembered (Holland, 1987).According to Roland Barthes we therefore consciously andsubconsciously transform ourselves before the camera, portraying aversion of ourselves we hope to be (Barthes, 1981).The positive is always recorded over the negative, with moments ofcelebration emphasized (King, 1986; Slater, 1995).“People give a performance when they allow themselves to bephotographed, in the sense that they make allowance for a publicthat will ultimately see the photograph” (Boerdam & Martinius, 1980)