My online identity has been a build up to what my current self is. I’ve been on numerous platforms for about 8 years, so the internet has had to put up with me during all my different stages of life, no matter how embarrassing and cringeworthy. “Establishment and maintenance of a profile is not a conscious self-representation but a series of performative acts that constitute the self and stabilise it over time” (Poletti, A & Rak, J 2014, p. 60) meaning that it’s an ongoing process, one’s identity is never consistent and this is reflected in one’s use of social media throughout time. Social media platforms have come and gone in this time, my MySpace account is floating somewhere on the internet and those ‘funny’ 6 seconds clips are forever stuck in the Vine archives. But it’s all been a learning curve, I now know what to share online and what not to. How to treat others and how to communicate properly with different people on each platform. Social media has allowed me to express all my personal traits to a world that either cares or doesn’t, and that’s fine by me as long I can continue to share my content through any type of medium “social networking sites allow us to do so by bringing various elements of ourselves together as an expression of identity coherence” (Poletti, A & Rak, J 2014, p. 67).
To have an effective use of social media one should be open to the idea of being on multiple platforms. My use of social media expands amongst most platforms, which results in many different things. For one by being on numerous social media’s I am able to express all different sides to my identity, for the most part on Twitter I can communicate with others that are involved in numerous fandoms I’m part of. This communication is something I can’t express offline as I may not know anyone that would care or be interested in this aspect of my life, so It offers me another means. My previous use of Twitter helped me with ALC203 but I realised early on that my prior use of my account wasn’t appropriate for the purposes of this class. Which is shown in the screenshots below of my two accounts, and their appearance.
Screenshot of @Jackieee182 twitter account, https://twitter.com/Jackieee182, retrieved 8 April 2017.
Screenshot of @Jackieeecollins twitter account, https://twitter.com/Jackieeecollins, retrieved 8 April 2017.
By creating a second account I was able to not only notice how I was using my normal account but to see the difference, and how it’s okay to have multiple accounts especially if they have a different purpose and audience. The second account’s use of language was vastly different, more formal with a bit of humour still to make it sound more human, with a personality. This is called ‘framing’ which “helps to set the boundary, establishing rules and expectations to guide behaviour” (Miller, D, Costa, E, Haynes, N, McDonald, T, Nicolescu, R, Sinanan, J, Spyer, J, Venkatraman, S & Wang, X 2016, p. 103) meaning that one changes their language to suit the social environment that they are in. My ‘personal’ account would not be appropriate as the framing of language and behaviour was not of standard as it’s a platform in which i share any brainless thought i have throughout the day, and keep up with friends i’ve made from around the world, and discuss things about the fandoms i’m involved in. I would then identity myself on that account as very raw, there’s no filter or limit in what i say or how i act on it.
Examples of the language used on @jackieeecollins
Examples of the language used on @jackieee182
To be successful with one’s use of social media is to frequent check it, and keep up to date with updating on them. Even if one is on multiple platforms, to grow a following and be consistent with identity one must continuously be on them. “A reason social networking profiles are so effective for the self-governance and performative articulation of subjective coherence relates to the fact that a subject’s performance is only stable, intelligible, and recognisable if it is repeated” (Poletti, A & Rak, J 2014, p. 61) I think my use of social media reflects this in most aspects. For one I am always on them, I have my notifications on on my phone so if anyone is trying to communicate with me I can know straight away without actually having to go on it. So i’m basically on even when i’m not actually ‘on’. The challenge with the second Twitter account was the updating part, because I didn’t know what was ‘meaningful’ content for the account and the following that was growing on it. With my other Twitter account it’s completely my own, without any kind of rules or guidelines so i’m able to be my complete self. But then by analysing the difference in accounts, it reflects how one changes themselves to the social situation they might be in, and this made me realise how our online identity, and the shift in personality is a reflection of our one acts offline too, and that the two aren’t that vastly different. “Online and offline selves are not seperate entities” (Poletti, A & Rak, J 2014, p. 249) even though both don’t ‘appear’ the same way, they both express different aspects of our identity.
My online identity is flexible, I’m able to adjust myself to suit different platforms the same i would do offline. I know the boundaries and am able to join any platform and give it a shot to find out if it is beneficial for me. Beneficial in regards to either talking to followers about certain topics or even monetary. Youtube has allowed me to do both, it started off as a medium that allowed me to get my point across more easier, as there is no text I can just use the power of my voice to project my thoughts and opinions on any topic I wanted to. A passion and hobby that now has financial benefits, which is a baffling thought as I really enjoy it but can also be rewarded for it in a way that isn’t just a subscriber count. But beside that it’s given me more confidence in how I act, both online and offline. I’m not afraid to share my opinion now, no fear of backlash from ‘haters’ so in that aspect I think it’s made me a stronger person. Even at the age of 20 I can still grow as a human being, and thanks to social media it has helped me grow, and that in itself is “is a recognition that these sites and the exchanges are vital to the maintenance of one’s identity…constantly worked upon and updated in its on-line form” (Marshall, P. David 2013, p. 428) . This type of exposure, by making videos has meant that I’m sharing more of myself to the world via the internet. The only tricky thing about that is i’m involved in so many fandoms and have so many interests and topics I want to discuss it’s hard to have a set in stone perception of who I am. In some videos I can be quite serious, or in others I can be crying over a boy band, “people manage multiple identities associated with various social roles and contexts…provides a greater flexibility to online identity” Miller, D, Costa, E, Haynes, N, McDonald, T, Nicolescu, R, Sinanan, J, Spyer, J, Venkatraman, S & Wang, X 2016, p. 110).
I think the most important thing to remember when reflecting on your identity, whether it be online or offline is to know that’s okay to act differently in different social situations, there is no true self, no defining persona. That if we act different online compared to real life that shouldn’t be frowned upon but accepted as it’s a way in which one can share their thoughts or communicate to people with a common interest, that that one can’t find offline. And then branching off from our online identity, one can act differently on any platform of social media because it’s what that one wants to do and act that is rewarding, or beneficial for them. That mirrors how one changes their self offline to suit their environment. Just like how my two twitter accounts communicate, they’re the same person but communicate differently due to the ‘environment’ and that is okay.
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Marshall, P. David 2013, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 35-48, p. 428.
Miller, D, Costa, E, Haynes, N, McDonald, T, Nicolescu, R, Sinanan, J, Spyer, J, Venkatraman, S & Wang, X 2016 How the World Changed Social Media, UCL Press, London.
Poletti, A & Rak, J 2014, Identity Technologies, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.
My Broader ALC203-realted online activity
As previously stated in this blog post, I had to create a second more ‘suitable’ Twitter account. Through the use of the hashtag I was able to follow numerous student accounts, and by doing so they also followed me back. From there I shared tweets regarding the class and university experiences in general. By working in groups I learnt what an Info-graph was and that Canva has really easy templates on them! Once my confidence grew I asked the ALC203 hashtag a question regarding class content and was surprised by the results. I also created a blog and did my first post!