The Reconstruction of Myself – Adapting to the Online World.

Through the development of digital media and the use of social media I feel like I have relived my pubescence over and over again.

What I am trying to say is that the construction of my online identity is something that has made me entirely self-aware and the battle of fitting in has now branched from our primary school playgrounds to the forums of the internet. As a kid I was always told the cliche spew of “staying true to yourself” and other lines similar to this one, but as I have evolved and as my online self evolved, I realised that a lot of people were constructing their online identities based on other people’s perceptions and not their own. P. David Marshall (2010, p. 44) states that there are “three ways of looking at on-line production of the public version of the private self.”, these three ways are; the public self, the public private self and the transgressive intimate self. I see the idea of the public self basically as a resume of yourself or the way you want the world to see you. The idea of the public self has become predominant with constructing an online identity as it allows a person to portray themselves as anything they want. Employers will often google an aspiring employees name to see if their is anything inappropriate coming from this name online.

This is how I would like my employer to view me; demonstrating hard-work and setting goals for myself

Tweet embedded from my @anothercrappoet profile.

 

This is not what I would want them to see when searching my name; my meme obsession

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 12.38.00 pm
Marshall, A. 2017. Aaron David. Facebook, 27 March 2017. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1885481525033276&id=100007143408611&pnref=story

The web has given us as users an opportunity to brand ourselves. To sell ourselves to potential lovers, friends and employers and present them with the constructed online version of ourselves. Now I am not saying that everyone creates this online persona to be a fabricated more “dolled-up” version of themselves, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that identities are being manipulated to suit the online context. Poletti and Rak (2014, p.82) further expand on the happening of identity manipulation due “to the expanding array of virtual environments” and that to some people online identity is “unbounded and purely a matter of choice and invention among avatars, roles and subject positions”.

I use social media to expand my own professional network by sharing my creative endeavours, whether that be tweeting about one of my new poems;

Tweet embedded from my @anothercrappoet profile.

Or to just show some pride in something my band is doing

Tweet embedded from my @anothercrappoet profile.

But this self promotion doesn’t prove any difference between my online and offline personas.

If anything, I find that I post these things for myself. Sure, I am sharing and promoting my band and my blog, however I often end up battling with myself about keeping posts up or taking them down. Being such an enclosed and introvert of a person has led to me struggling with my online identity quite a lot. I was one of those people who had no emotional filter, a “transgressive intimate self” (Marshall 2010, p. 45), if you will. I would post these status’ on Facebook, regret it the next day and delete them, almost like clock work. I was struggling personally and I used the internet as a way to vent, I probably vented a little too much but at the time it helped and I think it also helped to shape my offline persona. Eventually I began to stop posting as my emotional self and became more of a lurker. I would just scroll through for hours on end and not post anything of my own because I was scared of what the ramifications would be, I was scared of how I would be perceived and I realised that to be accepted online you had to post like EVERYONE else.

Remember those “Like for a tbh” or “like for a like and dislike” status posters? Yeah I became one of those. But we aren’t going to talk about that.

Today, I still worry and stress about what I am posting but I’ve realised I am posting for myself. No longer do I post for approval from others or for acceptance into an online community, now the only thing I need is my own approval.
I’m on a journey towards self-awareness/acceptance and my online identity has a huge part to play in this adventure. I post these things that I am proud of to prove that I will not take them down, that I am going places and that I am kicking arse.

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.12.26 pm
Marshall, A. 2016. Aaron David. Facebook, November 7 2016.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1814239895490773&set=a.1487659804815452.1073741826.100007143408611&type=3&theater

I’ve made this photo of myself on stage my profile picture because it is something I am proud of and not ashamed to have on the internet, some people however may be too insecure or afraid to post a picture they truly find comfort with because it doesn’t allow them to fit into an online community. They also may be worried that future employers or a potential lover could see it in a negative way. A profile picture can be seen as the title slide in your power point presentation that is your online identity, as Matt Hills (2008, p. 121) elaborates; “privacy levels can be modified by Facebook users and restricted to friends, but the importance of the profile picture is that it will show up as visible to unknown others.”. This is another way that the construction of our online selves is heavily influenced by the others around us.

Below is the link to an info-graph I made around the idea of self-acceptance!

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 9.17.13 pm
‘social MEdia’ – at venngage.com

I’ve kind of always found it hard to see who I am and who I should be,
Found it hard to be proud and to look away from all those who looked down on me
I’m taking steps in the right direction, putting myself out not for anyone’s attention
Used to post thank you letters, without giving myself a mention
See it was me who took all those steps and took a chance without fear of consequence
When I had came so far from a kid who really had no confidence

So who am I? Who should I be?
I’m just a guy trying to find self-belief.

(971 words, not including citations and captions)

My broader ALC203 -related online activity

I didn’t have a twitter account before taking this unit but I am very glad I have one now. I am very active with the unit online, although I could and definitely will do more. Myself and two other students even have a nickname for our table from retweeting images of food and have had some funny exchanges with Adam. I find myself always browsing the unit hashtag and seeing what others have been posting in relation to class content, but I think the most joy/use I get out of this online community is that it helps me stay motivated and keeps me looking forward to my further ALC203 classes.

References

Hills, M 2009, ‘Case study: social networking and self-identity’, in Creeber, G and Martin, R (eds.), Digital Cultures: Understanding New Media, Open University Press, Maidenhead, pp. 117-21.
Marshall, PD 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as

marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1,pp. 35-48.

Smith, S and Watson, J 2014, ‘Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self – Presentation’, in Poletti, A and Rak, J, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 70-95.
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