Since the advent of social media, young people have had the opportunity to construct an online idealized form of the “self” for others to behold. Based on the celebrity deities and worship of appearance, new technology has facilitated the way young girls can present themselves. The deadly trinity, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are used to create an identity to hide behind, covering blemishes both inside and out. If one is shy in person, they could be popular online is a fact alluring to many. The computer provides a window of opportunity for anyone to be perceived as however they want.
I would like to interview girls middle school to college aged that I know personally about their use of social media and how they use it to construct the self. I would also like to review their profiles, analyzing the pictures they chose to represent themselves with, the manner in which they type, and why they use social media, and which female public figures they are inspired by. Do they log onto Facebook to speak to people they are too afraid to speak to in public? Do they lurk and ferment in self hatred and jealousy of the internet personalities and constructed selves of their peers? Or do they remove themselves from the process all together by refusing to use social media?
I am making this after a discussion on why girls browse Facebook profiles and pass judgements based on the online self to a friend who is a self declared “loser” and doesn’t care for any social media output. His Facebook account has under 200 friends, which prompts him to “find more.” Trying to explain the phenomena that Facebook users can be judged based not on what they are but what they want to be. Finally verbalizing this made me more excited about it, and I want to see what more active social media users think about this.
I want to make this project into a mini-magazine that I would hand out in school, possibly within Hunter’s Cult. Magazine which I write and edit for. (Under the premise, our “issues” have issues.) In this manner, I can allow the interviewees to be seen side by side with their online selves, screenshots from their social media accounts. Providing background information on their lives and personalities, I feel a publication is the most linear way to present the various information I would need to fully engage with the differences I expect to find with the self and the online self. Showing the images to the interviewee, they can explain where they think their personality or appearance changes in person and in the public internet realm. Asking how the differences make them feel is also something I would like to focus on.
This project will fit perfectly into my portfolio of work as I am fascinated with this topic, and in other papers and powerpoints for other classes have only brushed the surface of why people would want to be perceived differently online than in person. After the semester is over, I would hope everyone who sees this project could more self aware of not only the media we take in, but the way we use media to present ourselves.