Blog Post 10: Social Media and Digital Identity

Hi everyone,

As we shift from sound to our final section on digital media this coming week, we also shift from thinking about what it means to produce and consume sound in a digital environment to the question of how we all produce and consume information online. Our first author, danah boyd, is the reigning authority on social media and identity, particularly with regard to young people. So for this week’s post, you should engage with a key moment in boyd’s argument in her chapter “Identity” (remember to focus on this chapter for Monday; the Introduction is now optional). What concepts, ideas, issues, claims, etc., seem most important, intriguing, striking, provocative, etc., to you? Because boyd is doing ethnographic work, her writing has a lot of detailed anecdotes and examples, but try to focus instead on a larger claim or assertion she’s making rather than a particular story. Your response to that piece should have two elements:

  • First, quoting and citing that claim, you should do some writing to develop about what’s important or interesting to you about it, much as we’ve been doing with the open-ended posts recently.
  • In addition, you should include in your post an example of digital material that illustrates or speaks to what you see as important or interesting in the passage you’ve chosen. This can take any number of forms: a picture posted online, a status post, tweet, etc. — anywhere where you see someone performing their identity online in a way that relates to boyd’s thinking. If it’s publicly accessible online, you should include a link to it in your post. If it’s not, you should take a screen capture of it and email it to me.

I’m interested to see what everyone comes up with as we head into the digital world — have a good weekend!

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, April 2nd. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

24 thoughts on “Blog Post 10: Social Media and Digital Identity

  1. One question posed in Danah Boyd’s work relies on the much known belief that teens are addicted to technology. Boyd challenges this idea with the idea that instead of being addicted to technology in itself it is used for the purpose of expanding and enhancing teens social sphere. She states, “Most teens are not compelled by gadgetry as such- they are compelled by friendship.” This poses a bit of relief with the knowledge that teens are not addicted to technology but rather are finding friendships through a different niche than the ways friendships were created throughout history. This does pose a separate problem of whether the friendships formed through social media are entirely real and are based upon true connection rather than made up and false self representation. Social media and texting allow people to form new versions of themselves with little effort begging the question of whether these technology based relationships are real. If these relationships are on the surface level and people are suddenly surrounding themselves with very superficial relationships this has the potential to make people feel isolated and face numerous other problems. For example Britney Spears recently uploaded a picture of corn with the implications that she made it and it was quickly discovered this picture is the first image that comes up when googling “Mexican grilled corn” (https://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/corn-is-so-hot-on-instagram?utm_term=.tsD8POj9p#.fxGaKBD2x). While this is obviously a very superficial sounding example it does demonstrate both how easy it is to alter and steal images and ideas to inform people one is something different than they truly are as well as the horrible consequences that come from being caught in these lies.

    Like

  2. Unlike in a face-to-face interaction, social media interactions allow users to portray themselves however they please. Yes, you can act or dress in different styles that will affect your real life presence, but your online persona is consciously created in a process to “type” oneself. Danah Boyd discusses this concept by saying, “Although Turkle recognized that a person’s identity was always tethered to his or her psyche, she left room for arguments that suggested that the internet could- and would- free people of the burdens of their “material” -or physically embodied- identities, enabling them to become a better version of themselves” (37). Every choice someone makes is a result of their psyche, however, social media provides an opportunity for a disconnection from the physical self. Because of this, social media is, for many, a freeing experience. When presenting yourself online you have a choice of how you want to be perceived. Moreover, you can continuously experiment with self-portrayal, “I took on fictitious identities in an effort to figure out who I was” (Boyd 37). This freedom that social media provides is unique and has had different expectations that depend on both the platform and the time period. Boyd explains that in early internet fictitious portrayal was more common than the more nonfiction- oriented expectations of today.

    While I believe that any social media account is an example of how Boyd writes about social media presence (some to a higher extent than others), Jaden Smith’s twitter is a clear example of self-representation (https://twitter.com/officialjaden). Smith’s twitter presence is known for being dramatic as he shares his words of wisdom(?) and makes excessive use of capital letters. While Smith is not portraying himself as a fictitious character, such as a wizard, he is presenting himself by only sharing the characteristics of himself that he chooses.

    Like

  3. A section of Boyd’s ‘Identity’ struck me, as I’m sure it did for many others in a personal way. As I read her piece ‘Crafting a Profile, Creating an Identity Performance’ I sighed with a bit of relief at her claim that teen’s use of ‘fake’ profiles on social networking sites is not only a way of ignoring a sites expectations in a radical yet goofy way but also as a signal of forming friendships online and signaling a common ground with other teens who are playing the same tricks as you. Teens will use sites like MySpace or Facebook to connect with people they already know rather than the larger audience of the internet. This idea, of trying to speak to a selective audience is problematic for people outside of the social sphere, such as parents or teachers they’re directing their posts to- usually friends of similar ages to the teens are. Those who see these posts out of the context of this group become concerned or feel fooled, lied to, aggravated by ‘teenagdom’ and trying to trick adults etc. Boyd says “Most teens aren’t enacting an imagined identity in a virtual world. Instead, they’re simply refusing to play by the rules of self-presentation as defined by these sites. Teens don’t see social media as a virtual space in which they must choose to be themselves or create an alternate ego. They see social media as a virtual space to gather with friends while balancing privacy and safety with humor and image.” Teens feel more in control this way, knowing that these sites weren’t built for them but for people older than they are so trying to fit into the site’s parameters calls for some rearranging and invention of information. An example from the book and from my own life is the fabrication of relationships on social media sites. Since 2011 I have been married to my best friend from camp on Facebook and almost every year I’ve posted an anniversary picture to dedicate to our ‘marriage.’ I also have 4 different people listed as either my cousin, sister, mother or daughter. Teens will provide fabricated information because it’s funny to do so, and this trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

    Like

  4. One of the comments from Boyd’s writing that I find extremely interesting was her assessment of the creation of an online profile and how that process is associated with creating an Identity performance. In this article, she comments on how when adults view the social media profiles of teenagers, they often have trouble understanding the reasoning for much of the photos, posts and other information that teens have presented there. The reason, as Boyd explains is because adults are holding teens to their perception of online identity, one with a full understanding of what Boyd calls “context collapses” in the audience of the media you present. The teens on the other hand focus primarily on the intended audience, not the actual audience, both now and in the future. An example of this disconnect between adults and teens can be seen in the creation of online identify. As Boyd explains “making oneself rich or from a foreign land is not about deception: it’s a simple way to provide entertaining signals to friends while ignoring the sites expectations. Most teens aren’t enacting an imagined identity in the virtual world. Instead, they’re simply refusing to play by the rules of self-presentation as defined by these sites. They see no reason to provide accurate information, in part because they know that most people who are reading what they post already know who they are.” This concept of different comprehensions from people of different ages and from different times is exemplified in the progression of individual peoples facebook pages. Most teens have had a facebook since before they were even old enough to have a facebook. Therefore, as they have grown, and time has passed since the original posting, teens begin to comprehend the extent of their online identity and the one they have already created for themselves. An example of how teens can begin to comprehend how their previous virtual actions have influenced their current virtual identity is from my own life, when I friended everyone on facebook with my name. At the time I simply thought that it would be funny, but in the time since then as my understanding of virtual identity had expanded to now see how a Happy Birthday post for brad sachs, from brad sachs, might be a little weird to see.

    Like

  5. Social media has created a network where teens and younger generations of adults struggle to maintain different personas and social contexts within different age groups and demographics. In the article, “It’s Complicated: the Social lives of Networked Teens,” the author, Danah Boyd, addresses the complex issue of multiple personas that current teens and millennials deal with in order to adapt in different platforms and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. But in these networking platforms, they often see intrusions from individuals and adults who do not understand their actions within these different social spheres. Teens and people in general tend to act different in front of adults, persons of authority or among other people in order to fit in with social norms. As a result, many teens may display a variety of “identities” that suites different context; a problem that adults and older generations of people cannot understand. In this compelling article, Boyd gives readers several anecdotes about the problem of “multiple identities” through networks. And one main idea in the article, that I thought was important was the need to position one’s self within the local context in a way that wouldn’t make a person a target. In most cases, adults and people with authority may not understand the real intentions of teens since they do not understand the challenges these teens face attempting to change their socioeconomic status in order to “fit-in.”
    I think that it is crucial for older generations of people, that were not raised in this age of technology, to understand the difference between a teen’s social status and identity online versus reality. It is simply a survival tactic where one “changes” in order to adapt and fit it with the crowd without being ostracized. For example, in Boyd’s article, she mentions how the Ivy league admissions team judged a student by the “gang signs” and “violent” material in his MySpace profile and compared his profile to his personal statement about his goal in “walking away from the gangs in his community.” I thought it was unfair that the admissions team judged this young man because of his profile which was probably meant for his “friends, community and classmate to see.” In such a dangerous environment, the young man probably used this different socioeconomic status to “blend” in and adhere to the “social norms” of that context. And I think that many people fail to realize how inaccurate social media profiles are in representing the real personas and characters of individuals and teens.
    This main idea of the “challenges of self-representation in a networked era” brings us to the problem of onlookers “taking things out of context” just by looking at one’s social media profile which is not meant for them to see. Media scholar, Joshua Meyrowitz, argues in the article that electronic media like radio and television easily collapse seemingly disconnected context. (Boyd 31) Like public figures, journalists, and anyone in the limelight, teens must regularly navigate disconnected social context simultaneously, balancing what they say with how their diverse audience might interpret their actions. (Boyd 31) These and younger generations of people are forced to grapple simultaneously with different norms that demand different social responses. (Boyd 31) And I truly believe that in this era, where “body image” and “reputations” are judged so harshly, teens are pressured to “satisfy” their audience and seek approval. And in this process, they may struggle with their true identities and are misunderstood.
    On example of Boyd’s theme in self-representation was in a scandal surrounding James Charles, CoverGirl’s first male ambassador representing the LGBT community. Heading to Africa on a school trip, James Charles, jokingly tweeted about possibly contracting Ebola. According to US Magazine, the 17-year-old vlogger turned billboard star tweeted this conversation to his massive fan base: “‘I can’t believe we’re going to Africa today omg what if we get Ebola?’ ‘James we’re fine we could’ve gotten it at chipotle last year…'” He added an upside-down smiley face, presumably to let people know that he was joking, but hundreds of Twitter commenters don’t find the exchange amusing. (Walano) Many commenters refused to forgive Charles after his tweet and apology afterwards while others acknowledged the fact that maybe he didn’t mean to tweet that racist joke by stating “we are human and we make errors,” and that “[James] seems like a sweet young adult that wouldn’t intentionally try to be mean.” (Walano) James is a great example of a teen who is trying to navigate the disconnected social context but he is now learning how “to balance what he says with how [his] diverse audience might interpret his [tweets] after that scandal.


    https://bossip.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/jamescharlescoment.png?w=392&h=440
    http://www.usmagazine.com/stylish/news/covergirl-male-ambassador-james-charles-slammed-for-racist-tweet-w467898

    Like

  6. Boyd grapples with the concept of cyber-privacy by framing it as a problem of unknown spectatorship and media permanence. She says that “When people are chatting and sharing photos with friends via social media, it’s often hard to remember that viewers who aren’t commenting might also be watching.” (33) This is especially important in the context of both audience and privacy, because on one hand, it means that people often make posts online without being able to know how wide their current audience truly is, and how it may affect the people they post about. On the other hand, non-commenting viewership has effects in the long term as well, due to the permanence of digital media. Posts “quickly become archived traces, accessible to viewers at a later time.” (33) This is a stark reminder that any posts you may have made when you were younger can be accessible to people with whom you are newly engaging. These people, who know you in a completely different context of your life, suddenly get to interact with a side of you that may not be consistent with the self that you present today. In turn, this can affect the way you perceive yourself, and your self-schema, and it can be incredibly cognitively dissonant for you and those around you when these versions of yourself are presented simultaneously. A good example of this is when you add someone on a social media platform that you have had for years, such as Facebook or Instagram. One of my friends has posts from 2012, which are laughable now because the photo quality is so bad and the captions reflect her “emo-aesthetic” of that year, but it is not something that she wants other people to know about her while they are first forming impressions about her. The permanence of media posts removes any hopes of completely moving on from your past because it is very difficult to get rid of all traces of your former lives from the internet. In some respects this is good, because it allows you to be introspective and look back on things you have done. But it also leads to increased mulling over the past, and can trap you from moving forward in your life to a place you are happy with.
    An example of regretful and permanent digital representation is “mean tweets.” Because most people post these on their regular twitter accounts, they are easily traceable and leave a mark on how we perceive people (because in some instances, posts that were made years ago about celebrities become “luke-warm meme reheated” on live television in the form of the insulted reading the tweets back at their posters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpOEO2gUekE ).

    Like

  7. Boyd talks a lot about teens and people who grew up in the Internet generation and their creation of social media profiles, whether to help market themselves or help fit in. Unlike in face-to-face interaction online you cannot simple switch contexts when a new person walks into the room, because online “’you can see when there’s people around you and stuff like that’”(33). Online everyone can see you post not just the specific friend group those post are aimed at. Although Boyd doesn’t mention it something I do and I have noticed some of my friends do is have different presences on different social media sites. For example my Instagram account is primarily made up of pictures of my horses with almost no picture of my friends and I. The reason for that is simple I don’t know everyone who follows me on Instagram and therefore only post pictures I am comfortable with the entire world seeing. Facebook is a little bit more personal but again is primarily used for networking since I know potential employers are able to see my Facebook page. My most personal social media sit is Snapchat. Snapchat is more private then the other social media sites. I carefully control whom I am friends with and who can see my story. Instagram especially seems like it is used for self promotion and less to share serious thoughts instead it is a place for photos of beaches or dog and raccoon accounts that post the cute picture of the day. As our lives become increasingly digital a greater divide will be created between sites that we go for serious social interactions and sites like instagram that for the most part are made up of self promotional photos and cute pictures of your pets. https://www.instagram.com/pumpkintheraccoon/?hl=en

    Like

  8. I like Danah Boyd’s “It’s Complicated” a lot because it comes as a breath of fresh air in an age when the younger generations are tirelessly targeted for excessive device and technology use, when the underlying truth of the matter tends to paint a different, older picture; one where the true obsessors of today’s technology are the older generations. Boyd’s line stating “What is new is the way in which social media alters and amplifies social situations by offering technical features that people can use to engage in these well-established practices” rang particularly true to me because I believe this truth can undermine nearly every criticism that can be made towards the technology use of the younger generations. Of the behemoth list of common criticisms, perhaps among the most repeated is one which suggests those who are on their phones are not living in the moment and are therefore missing out on an experience to be had, or that technology is making us antisocial. I agree that this criticism is true in many applications, but it’s false in many others. One manifestation of a well-established practice which has evolved according to technological advances is how we consume the news. Two photographs side-by-side comparing a full train car in the 1900s to a full car today can paint both opposite, yet identical depictions. On one side, everyone in the train car is on their phone, and on the other side, everyone is reading a newspaper. So who is truly being antisocial…? I argue neither.

    Like

  9. A significant argument in Danah Boyd’s chapter on Identity is about the different social contexts of different social media sites and outlets. Boyd writes that when a teen chooses to go by different names on different sites, for example, “‘Jessica Smith’ on Facebook and ‘littlemonster’ on Twitter, she’s not creating multiple identities in the psychological sense. She’s choosing to represent herself in different ways on different sites with the expectation of different audiences and different norms” (38). This tends to occur because, naturally, not every social media site is made equally. Inherent in their existence is their difference, thus it is only natural that users will allocate different aspects of their lives and interests to different sites. Boyd writes, “what matters is not the particular social media site but the context in which it’s situated within a particular group of youth. (39)” Basically, not every social media site is going to be utilized the same way – the context is determined by its users. And just because a teen might have a Facebook profile where they interact with friends from their high school and post pictures of themselves and others, and a Tumblr profile under a completely unrelated username posting about their favorite TV show, does not mean that they are in any respect lying about who they are. They just are using different outlets for different means of expression; Boyd writes, “she’s [not] cycling through identities – or creating a segmentation between the virtual and the real – but [she is] switching social contexts and acting accordingly” (41).
    Below is a link to a Justin Bieber twitter fan account under the handle “whoabiebz” and with the name “Justin Bieber Fans.” Clearly there is a real Justin Bieber fan, running this account, interacting with other fans and possibly with the singer. It is also likely that the person behind this account has a personal Facebook on which they post about school, life, work and other social interactions they would share with those they know personally, such as friends and family.

    Like

  10. A section to which I found interest in the Boyd’s article is the one entitled, “Impression Management in a Networked Setting”. In this section on page 48 he claims, “In other words, what we convey to others is a matter of what we choose to share in order to make a good impression and also what we unintentionally reveal as a byproduct of who we are and how we react to others” (48). This section, I think relates to everyone who just gets social media for the first time. You want to constantly like pages and show your friends the diverse things you like and start to spruce your profile up every few weeks with new profile pictures or trip photos, not for you so much, but for your friends to see all the things you are doing. I think as you grow up more you fade away from those ideas. But also the idea of we have control and create this sort of perfect self on the internet if we can so that anyone who searches us sees our “perfect” lives and wants to maybe be friends with us. Now that mostly everyone has the ability to have this social presence we have to now not only be concerned about ourselves, but our image on the internet. And this could almost be looked at like a popularity contests where everyone is entered and the whole world audience are the judges. Although this also opens the door for a lot of business ventures to come in and help people to make their profiles perfect like this site:
    http://getyourtips.com/tips-creating-perfect-facebook-profile-picture/
    It is a simple site giving you tips on how to make the “perfect” Facebook profile picture or even page to show your creative side off.

    Like

  11. I am very interested in what Boyd discussed about self-presentation and impression management in the article. He said: “In other words, what we convey to others is a matter of what we choose to share in order to make a good impression and also what we unintentionally reveal as a byproduct of ho we are and how we react to others… When we interpreting others’ self-presentations, we read the explicit content that is conveyed in light of the implicit information that is given off and the context in which everything takes place.” (p48) Identifying a person according to his/her public posts on social application is so common nowadays. You don’t have to meet someone in person to know about him/her but can infer what kind of person he/she by reading the posts, pictures, comments of his/her friends, etc. However, these contents can be problematic to both the poster and the reader. People who post things online would consider the potential audience. They usually have an intention to make themselves look in a certain way though the reality might not always be the same. Because they know what they post will be judged – just like they will judge others’ posts, either privately or publicly – sometimes some people would hide their true themselves. One of my friends has used Facebook for many years and till recently they finally decided to announce themselves is gender neutral, because they feel safe and comfortable to be judge by their readers. For years, their followers and friends on Facebook have no idea about this but it is indeed a very important part of themselves. For the readers, their understanding of the content might be problematic because their interpretations might be very different from the original thoughts of the posters. With the popularity of social applications people already have many stereotypes in their minds. For example, people who likes to post photos of hanging out with friends in clubs are always social and people who post radical thoughts all the time might be a young cynic. But who can tell what kind of people they are in real life? Maybe the readers would just ignore how sensitive a person can be in real life just because he/she looks very social in these public posts.

    Like

  12. The power of the internet is truly incredible. Especially considering social media, the concept of identity, or an alternate identity is quite prevalent in today’s society. When speaking of Sherry Turkle’s book Life on the Screen, Boyd states that “…the internet could – and would – free people of the burdens of their “material” – or physically embodied – identities, enabling them to become a better version of themselves.” (37) Given all the social media platforms we have today, anyone can change or form a different identity in the cybernetic world compared to the physical world. Personally, even going back to role-based playing games, I try to make my character, or identity, as true to myself as possible. In this sense, my Facebook profile, Instagram, Snapchat stories etc, I believe are all genuinely representative of me. However, I know plenty of users of these platforms that intentionally or unintentionally use these platforms as an opportunity to convey a different personality or character.

    On the /r/nba subreddit, there have been a few posts compiling old NBA tweets of players saying embarrassing or uncharacteristic things. One example is Kevin Durant, responding to a random person on the internet. After insulting @Ant-Wright, he goes on to explain how he only had one year of college education and “didn’t pay attention in class”. Already in the NBA playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, this is a prime example of a person unintentionally creating a bad image of themselves. While Durant most likely shouldn’t have said this at all, this is also an example of Boyd’s collapsed context. Because Durant said this on the internet, to millions of followers, it caught a lot more attention as opposed to him casually saying this in conversation.

    Like

  13. Boyd’s chapter on Identity was particularly refreshing to read. When older generations attempt to analyze the digital age, and the fixation technology has had on the millennials, they are never able to accurately depict or comprehend the necessity for technology in the lives of teenagers. “the ability to navigate one’s social relationships, communicate asynchronously, and search for info online is here to stay” (p. 27). In a time of such difficult identity development as an adolescent, the digital age serves as another complicating aspect of that development. Another part of Boyd’s chapter that i found interesting was when she touched on the the topic of self representation, “the imagined audience defines the social context” (p. 32). Boyd hitting the nail on the head here when saying that many teens craft their platforms on social media with a specific trend among adolescence, almost like guidelines they feel obligated to follow to satisfy their ‘audience’ or because of the pressure they feel from their peers. But a scary thought Boyd brings up is the privacy aspect of these social media platforms, and the unawareness teens have for whomever looks at their accounts. Not taking into account what message they be sending out to the world and how it could effect them later in life, a major concern for the digital age.
    Below is the link to one of the many risqué posts by Kylie Jenner on instagram. The impression she is giving and the influence she sets for young and adolescent women as she is only 19 years old, but has the ability to look 25. She is unfortunately one of the most popular users on instagram, setting the trend for an inappropriate representation of young women all throughout social media.

    Like

  14. On a surface level, social media serves one purpose—allowing its users to be social. But Danah Boyd points out that most teens utilize different forms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to achieve different goals and have interactions with different people. Specifically, she first looks to the variety that one person’s various handles can have. “Quite often, teens respond to what they perceive to be the norms of a particular service. So when a teen chooses to identify as “Jessica Smith” on Facebook and ‘littlemonster” on Twitter, she’s not creating multiple identities in the psychological sense. She’s choosing to represent herself in different ways on different sites with the expectation of different audiences and different norms” (38). Unlike a lot of users from older generations, teens are savvy enough to figure out the use of a particular social site and portray themselves in a way that is more useful to how they want to benefit from that particular site. Facebook, for most millennials is a way to connect with family and friends, but seems to be the least flashy and most professional. Twitter is an outlet for major fanbases to reach out to their favorite celebrities and find friendship within those groups. Tumblr is a deeper extension of that, seeming to be the most restrictive and cliquey, and Instagram remains a place for people to selectively share pictures in order to convince their followers that they are living their absolute best life. The goal of social media is not to be consistent, but to get the most out of the experience with each one. Personally, I see this with my own mom, and how she posts all of her Instagram pictures to Facebook as well. She doesn’t understand the unspoken rule that the two do not mix.
    Personally, I do not have the same handle or username for any of my profiles. Especially when it comes to the new idea of a finsta (fake Instagram), the point is to have a funnier or ironic username to indicate that the account is not your real one. I’ve had Tumblr accounts that had usernames devoted to a band or referencing them in the bio.

    Like

  15. Boyd creates an interesting argument around teen identity on social media. Contrary to media’s own presentation and stereotyping of teens online, which presents teens as self-absorbed, cruel, and careless, Boyd argues that social media is a space for teens to express or discover identities that may not be present in their everyday lives. For teens, social media is a platform that, “[ enables ] them to become a better version of themselves”(37). It gives teens the option to interact with friends online or use websites, like Twitter, to embrace different fandoms that you may not have in common with your friends. Boyd discusses the fact that social media is not necessarily a place in which to escape reality, which is a common belief, but a place in which teens can celebrate and express their culture, which may not be appreciated in the school or at home. I think the internet is an important space for people to embrace identities that may not be accepted in the home or school. Social media then becomes an escape for teens to express their true identities, like someone’s sexuality. However, Boyd makes an interesting claim about adults’ perception of social media and how teens choose to identify themselves when she writes, “teens are blamed for not thinking while adults assert the right to define the context in which young people interact. They take content out of context to interpret it through the lens of adults’ values and feel as though they have the right to shame youth because that content was available in the first place”(51). Adults struggle to understand the complexity of teen internet culture. They fail to see an image or post on social media through the lens of teens navigating their own expression of identity. Nonetheless, this adult outlook on social media can be extremely harmful to young people when they don’t receive a scholarship or a job because someone in power misinterpreted the culture of the internet. This threat of teens being judged by adults through social media leads many teens to change their names on Facebook while applying to college in order to prevent college administrations from finding their online presence. However, teens still create these “senior names” and are still able to express and form their own identities through internet culture.

    Like

  16. Something I found particularly interesting in the focus of this particular article, was the focus on teens and social media, and not those exposed to social media in general. Granted, it seems that social media is often used, and misused by teens, but it almost seems, or at least it does in this specific introduction that Boyd associates a certain kind of immaturity with the current use of social networks. He discusses how, “Tweets and status updates aren’t just accessible to the audience who happens to be following the thread as it unfolds; they quickly become archived traces, accessible to viewers at a later time…they are more likely to be experienced over time, as new audiences read the messages in a new light (Boyd, 33). Coming of age in the 2010’s, I’ve seen more “think before you post” commercials and lectures on the dangers of posting certain social media without knowing its implications, but I think that the connotations of this go beyond a certain age. For instance, we’ve seen notorious twitter rants from various celebrities such as Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and most unfortunately our very own President, in which upon reflection, certainly do not improve our perceptions of their intelligence. For instance, on November 6th, 2012 at 9:15 in the morning, Donald Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”. This statement, later to resurface during his 2016 Presidential Campaign caused serious discussion, and insight that could not be denied. In this particular instance, the tweet did not serve to improve his campaign. As a generation, we’ve been told to “think before we post”, but I think it applies to more than just teenagers and young adults, but anyone exposed to the access itself. I almost feel in certain cases, that people of my generation, even when we were teenagers, learn this lesson better than most adults do, perhaps because of all the caution surrounding our incompetence on social media. This is not to say that teens don’t act dumb on the internet, because they absolutely do, but arguably, so does everyone else at one point or another.

    Like

  17. A concept I found most interesting in the chapter “Identity” by Danah Boyd was the concept of lying on social media in very odd ways that teens find humorous or a declaration of how much they love their best friend; “I met many teens who fabricated answers like name, location, age, and income to profile questions. They thought it was amusing to indicate their relationship status on Facebook as “It’s Complicated” whether they were in a relationship or not. A casual viewer…contains meaningful signals about friendship and sociality” (45). In this quote (I have shortened it as to not take up too much space), Boyd is describing the trend that many teens, myself included, have fallen into; listing someone as your spouse or saying you are in a relationship with them is very misleading, but as a teen with a best friend, it seems like a very cute way of showing your love for them. I did the same thing a while back; I said that my friend Calli was my wife on Facebook. We had had no romantic relationship or even anything to make this even plausible, but we thought it was a fun way to show people how close we were. Looking back on it, this is obviously misleading to anyone just perusing on Facebook, because we were both over the legal age to get married and very easily could be. While to me, that is not a big deal because I am fortunate enough to live in an environment that if I come out as gay, that would be accepted. Some people are not so lucky, so if that information was on Facebook, even as a joke or as a legitimate romantic relationship, that person could be judged or shunned.
    (I will email you the screenshot)

    Like

  18. A concept I found extremely relevant to the discussion of social media identities was Boyd’s point abound audience. She writes, “In order to stabilize the context in their own minds, teens do what others before them have done: just like journalists and politicians, teens imagine the audience they’re trying to reach.” (p. 31) This presents an interesting shift of private to public; because of social media and its reach, everyone is able to become a sort of public figure. It is a simple fact that scrutiny finds people in the public eye. However, celebrities and politicians usually have teams whose sole purpose is to manage social media accounts in order to stay diplomatic and appease unhappy parties. So what happens when everyone is in the public eye, without these experts to guide them? How do kids balance their desire to please their peers through social media, and the authority figures in their lives who don’t appreciate their actions. My example is taken from my little cousin. Today is her fifteenth birthday, and it wouldn’t be a birthday without the ceremonial Instagram post. The picture is one of her, holding a balloon. This picture balances her possible audiences, which consist mostly of family and friends. Her caption reads, “we made it bitches.” My first thought was, what if my Aunt sees this? I did not stop to wonder about her friends because I’m sure that’s mostly the audience she was trying to please with her word choice. She is trying to shift her digital identity presumably for her peers, but is unable to do so without also alerting some of her family members/ adults in her life who might not appreciate or understand her efforts.

    Like

  19. A reason that social media blew up with so many people of many different demographics, is because it allows an individual to express themselves to people who they may have once met in passing to attempt to keep up appearances. If the person has a change of heart or decides to pursue other interests, they can present that way on their social media page by simply uploading a new profile picture and changing their status. The search history of their web browser will influence the ads that they see and the people that they follow and their life will feel in control because it “enables them to become a better version of themselves”(37). One flaw with the internet is that nothing goes away. Once somebody tweets something out, it can be seen online forever – and possibly come back to haunt them years later should ‘scandals’ occur. The internet nowadays is in control of our security – bank accounts, emails, most entertainment – but we are comfortable thinking that we are in control when we are using it.
    On various YouTube accounts, videos are taken heavy heartedly and should offense be taken at something released by a popular artist, chaos online would occur. For example, in one of Pewdiepie’s recent disputes, somebody accused him of being anti-Semetic because of a video where he was proving the “stupidity of [a] website” with photos of Hitler and Nazis (http://nypost.com/2017/02/13/disney-drops-youtubes-pewdiepie-after-anti-semitic-posts/). He has now lost a contract and has to try to reshape his online appearance so he can continue to make a living and move on past an accusation on the internet.

    Like

  20. As I was reading the anecdote about how Boyd noted that some teens used the fictitious information for their MySpace accounts, I was reminded how every senior year, it’s tradition in my high school as well as in other high schools to change your Facebook name into something that relates to your personality or name. This is done to make sure that it is not as easy for college admissions officers to find you. However, I also think some students do it because it’s a fun thing to do, you get a nickname and you’re sort of bonding with your grade. Some people didn’t even have anything to hide because they know better than to post something online that admissions officers or potential employers can see, but they still changed their names. After Boyd talks about how teens used fake locations, ages, and incomes for their MySpace pages, he claims, “Teens don’t use social media as a virtual space in which they must choose to be themselves or create an alternate ego. They see social media as a place to gather with friends while balancing privacy and safety with humor and image” (47). Essentially, the intent on social media is to connect with friends rather than a building a whole new version of oneself. While teens connect with friends, whom they imagine are their audience, teens are private to some extent and try to be funny at the same time. I imagine something similar when I see the names from people of my high school like: Bok Choy, Mai Space, In it to Lin it, Solly Lama, Samuari, and My Ana Conyers Don’t. Over the years, the seniors of my high school have balanced privacy and fun by changing their Facebook names. It doesn’t matter if some of their family members or other people get confused by their names because they know who is their intended audience and the purpose of having their social media account. A more known person that does something similar is Scott Disick, with his Instagram handler, @letthelordbewithyou. He’s not a teen, but the overall idea I understand, is that the information presented in social media can be taken out of context, or misleading but those that give this information know who their audience (most likely friends) is, and their audience knows who they are.

    Like

  21. One of the sections of Boyd’s chapters that I found interesting was the one that centered on the complex relationship between privacy and publicness that social media platforms create, and more specifically on the “imagined audience” of any entry onto that social media platform. I thought specifically of this moment: “In order to stabilize the context in their own minds, teens do what others before them have done: just like journalists and politicians, teens imagine the audience they’re trying to reach” (31). And then, on page 33: “Tweets and status updates aren’t just accessible to the audience who happens to be following the thread as it unfolds; they quickly become archived traces, accessible to viewers at a later time…. Thus, the context collapses that teens face online rarely occur in the moment with conflicting onlookers responding simultaneously” (33). In relation to these two textual ideas, I thought specifically about the way in which I react to my own posts from years ago, when Facebook was just a burgeoning, though popular, social media platform. In this particular post, I talk specifically and embarrassingly about the fact that I was “annoyed at particular people.” The intended or imagined audience seems clear; I’m trying to send those “particular people” the really passive aggressive message that I’m annoyed at them. But, I also know what I was like in 2008, and that the fact that I posted this to Facebook wasn’t solely to be passive aggressive, but to be public. I for whatever reason thought it would be cool or interesting to publicly air out my drama with those “particular” people on social media. It’s interesting also to think about the “context collapse” that occurs in one’s own identity, too, as one ages. This post wasn’t meant for 21-year-old me, it was meant, in part, for 13-year-old me. But, in an effort to be funny and self-aware, I screenshotted the original post and posted it again last year as an image in an album entitled, “why children should avoid the internet.” Here, the context-collapse becomes the butt of a joke, and I’ve reappropriated that collapse for a new, well-controlled purpose in which context is re-stabilized.

    Like

  22. While reading Danah Boyd’s piece “Identity,” I was particularly struck by the significance of the following passage: “Based on their understanding of the social situation–including the context and audience–people make decisions about what to share in order to act appropriately for the situation and to be perceived in the best light” (Boyd 48). I believe that this passage, along with the statements that follow, encompasses the inherent goal one has when creating a social media account. While what a user considers her “best light” is self-determined and therefore varies across people of different cultures and identities, the lighting of a user’s profile can completely contradict the reality of the user’s life. Therefore, a woman’s online profile adopts the form of an edited and improved version of her actual life. Rather than choosing to share all aspects of her life, a user publicizes an idealized version of her life often in an attempt to conform to social norms. Yet, in choosing to insincerely represent herself as “cool…confident and happy” (48) in an attempt to muddle her insecurities and imperfections, the user actually exposes her social anxieties and insecurities.
    It is widely understood that life is not perfect, and that nearly every person has unique (or common) insecurities or social anxieties; thus, if this proves true, why are we so rarely exposed to images or self-representations that defy/disregard social norms? This widespread fear among social-media users that they are “embarrassing themselves” (48) by acting or depicting themselves in an unedited, natural light, justifies the millions of perfectly timed, edited, and cropped photos that crowd Instagram and Facebook feeds. Aspiring and official “Instagram-models,” in their attempts to appear to be ideal human specimens and cosmopolitan socialites by posting photos of their hopelessly slim bodies in exotic locations, perfectly epitomize this epidemic. Though their seemingly “perfect” photos appear to exude confidence as they, and regular Instagram users, “become better version[s] of themselves” (37), the photos actually represent desperate attempts to assert social normality. Thus, when a 15 year-old posts an undeniably provocative photo of herself in a bikini, she is desperately attempting to not only conform to social standards of beauty, but to assert that she is already a part of the social standard. Instances like the theoretical one above are all too common, for as the need to connect through social media increases, the opportunities to refine and redefine one’s self-image, increase proportionally.

    The Instagram profile(s) below, of “famous Instagram models,” exemplify these attempts to assert social superiority and acceptance.

    https://www.instagram.com/elizabethcturner/?hl=en
    http://www.gq.com/gallery/instagram-models-2016#7

    Like

  23. As Boyd writes in her article, “Identity: Why Do Teens Seem Strange Online?” teens act differently online than they do in a face-to-face interaction mainly due to the concept of audience. Boyd describes the illusion of an audience and although teens know that what they post online is public information, they imagine their audience as they make a post. This relies on the context. Teens may post to Facebook with the intension of speaking to their friends, but their great aunt responds instead. Many teens struggle with the balance between their “real” life and online profile. Boyd writes “Teens who struggled the most with the challenges of collapsed contexts were those who were trying to make sense of their sexual Identity or who otherwise saw themselves as outcasts in their community” (51). She describes one story a girl trying to navigate her sexuality. “She had found a community of other queer girls in a chat room, and even though she believed that some of them weren’t who they said they were, she found their anonymous advice to be helpful” (52). She tried very hard to keep her two worlds separate but that can be a challenging endeavor.

    Teens will also turn to social media as an outlet to express another part of themselves and they’ll use different platforms for different reasons. Each social network has its own community and each community creates the social norms, therefore teens will conform to these norms, or challenge them, on a specific site. Boyd used an example of a girl with different names for different social media sites. She wasn’t’ created multiple personalities but rather expressing different parts of herself. “[She chose] to represent herself in different ways on different sites with the expectation of different audiences and different norms” (38).

    This is a website that is a social support network, which gives LGBTQ youth the courage to come out. This is an example of a social media site that teens may use to create an other context were they can navigate their sexuality.
    https://youreaccepted.com.au/#/

    Like

  24. “Teens often imagine their audiences to be those that they’ve chosen to “friend” or “follow,” regardless of who might actually see their profile. In theory, privacy settings allow teens to limit their expressions to the people they intend to reach by restricting who can see what.” (page 32) I feel that this quote is very important, because this is something we hear about all the time. We are always told to put the privacy on and to be careful. The idea of what is secured, and what is shown to the public. There are so many instances that we are told to be careful with what we post because you may portray the wrong image to the outer world. We are always told that for our future education and jobs opportunities we need to be aware of who can actually see our profile. By being given the chance to put security settings on your profile; it allows teens to express what they what to express. There is the want to show others/ “friends” what they are doing, and who they are.

    A good example of this are celebrity Instagram accounts. They are completely open to the public, and anyone can follow them and their lives. For example, Ariel Winter’s Instagram account. She has recently been to China and she posts daily photos of her trip. (https://www.instagram.com/p/BSIMFp8hk6y/?taken-by=arielwinter) This is a way of showing what they are doing, and reaching out to their fan base. This could be paralleled to non-famous people too; who may have their account set to privacy. it is a way for people to reach out to their friends, and showing what they are doing in their lives. But based off the quote above and the relationship between who teens imagine viewing their profile and who actually is viewing their profile. There are so many chance for the privacy barrier to be broken by having apps connecting your Facebook, and Instagram to them. For example, Tinder. On this app you are linked to your Facebook, and are even asked if you want your Instagram to be linked. The privacy barrier can always be broken, and there is a chance that who you have control of who’s looking into your life is not always who you think.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s