Qualman 4 & 6

Qualman’s discussion of living in a “schizophrenic” world was interesting to me. I feel we all do this whether we realize it or not. I know for a fact I have different personas. I have the person I am at work, extremely professional, a little shy, and productive. Then I have the person I am on the weekends, a cowgirl hauling to rodeos and barrel races with my horses and boyfriend. Sometimes I feel as though I’m leading a double life! This got me thinking about the personas we portray of ourselves on social media sites such as Facebook. Personally I can think of several people I am subscribed to on Facebook that post statuses that seem very different than who the person is in real life. However, the subscribers that I don’t know personally, I feel as though I know them through reading their statuses… but is that a reasonable way to feel as if I “know” someone? Probably not.

Posted on October 4, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Rachel, I think you made a very good point about on whether you really “know” someone through Facebook. I’m post articles I like or am interested in, however, they’re never very controversal. Same with my status updates or my replies to other people’s status – they’re usually up beat and positive. While that’s generally how I am, I also don’t think it makes sense to stir up bad feelings over the web…not to mention (unless you go back and delete it), what you write on Facebook is out there for eternity. I have a friend from college who is currently pregnant and updates her status at least 5 times a day about her pregnancy. I don’t want to be THAT person either.

    • Ok, gotta chime in here about Facebook. I LOVED the tweet that the professor posted about how Hope Solo has that *Miley Cyrus taking a picture of herself in the mirror for facebook* type of face when she dances. And where are all the mirrors? IN THE BATHROOM! SO, we have all these young ladies taking a picture of themselves in the crapper and posting it on Facebook – how demure, how alluring, how STUPID!

      To top it off (getting back to the whole pregnant thing) I have a cousin who got pregnant and then posted a picture each week, standing sidewise, in her bra next to her toilet! Yes – the Preggo in the Crapper -(I deleted her from FB).

      *steps down from her little stool*

      • Just to clarify quickly, I retweeted my fav Twitter account, TVWithoutPity, who made that [accurate] point about how Hope Solo’s face. But I’m with you on these oversharers. See this NYTimes piece for a fuller explanation of that term!

  2. I think someone mentioned performance before, but I think the Turkle book talks about identify and teenagers being exhausted from constantly updating their profiles. This blog post entitled “Performing Identity on Facebook” mentions profile upkeep too: http://www.davidroedl.com/2009/02/28/performing-identity-on-facebook/

  3. I completely agree on the “separate personality” thing. We all play different roles in the different situations in which we’re cast. I find as I grow older, that I’ve gravitated towards situations where I can be myself instead of playing a role.

    That’s one of the reasons I like working in academia (despite the lower-level position). I don’t have to pretend to be a giant suck-up, or try to fit in an environment that makes me uncomfortable. I feel like I can be myself. I am kind of a kooky chick, and that didn’t play real well in corporate. Using words with more than three syllables often got me a questioning look.It was weird.

  4. I don’t know if you can say you “know” someone if you are only friends on Facebook. Like you said, we all have different personas that we let the world see (the work us, the family us, the Facebook us, and etc.) However, no matter what persona someone is portraying, it is still them, at least a part of them. Maybe that’s all we ever get to know of someone–“a part.” Right now I am using my academic persona, but it is still me. So you know me as this guy. I just gave myself a headache and when I read this post tomorrow I may wonder if I was drinking.

  5. Now that I already posted to a post here that may have been a bit off-track, I will address the issue at hand.

    Ok, I totally agree that the person you are chatting with could be some 400lb dude with stubble and pimples that hasn’t taken a bath in a month. He says he is an underwear model and has posted some picture he found on the internet. (This is a scenario I have told to my young girls from day one). But what is more important is that the root cause for this type of behavior is not a single internet phenomenon.

    As human animals, we have a biological need to present ourselves in the best light when meeting others. Much like a bird that preens their feathers in the spring so that they look the best they can for a possible mate, we also spend an amazing amount of time getting ready for those first encounters.

    So, this got me thinking. Relationships go through stages of that first presentation and eventually end up being comfortable. The first meal we eat with our new spouse is one where we do not burp, eat very little, and would DIE if a bit of food landed on our perfectly clean outfit. After so many years, we are eating and burping in our underwear while watching television and it does not bother us.

    Could the same be true of Facebook and the internet? Do we begin on a social networking site with a certain self-designed image, but then let that slide as time goes by? Do we become more of our “real” self over time in front of (behind the screen) our internet friends?

    Or, as I suspect, we never truly become that comfortable because we gather too many people that we do not know well; therefore, never really let our guard down.

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