Readings 1: Digital Photography and Social Networking

In Sherry Turkle’s “Avatar of Me” she has interviewed high school students and asks them to describe how they have constructed their online profiles and why they chose to include what appears on them. For the most part, the way they described it is, when you create an online profile such as Facebook, it isn’t as much for you as it is for all the other people who view it. They all mention that no negativity, such as a bad home life, goes on to their profile. They try to make themselves look better and cooler than they really are; and who’s to tell them that they aren’t like that offline, most of their ‘friends’ dont even know who they are. Brad says that it causes him some stress deciding over the fact of what music and books to list because he is thinking too much about what the viewer would like and not his own likes. Like many others, Brad temporarily deactivated his Facebook just to get away from it all. Have you ever deactivated your Facebook and if so, for what reason(s)?

In “Social Network Sites: Public, Private, or What?” Danah Boyd dives deep into explaining the ‘friend’ aspect of SNSes as well as what the mediated public is and how it affects the lives of todays youth. On most SNSes such as Myspace and Facebook you gather hundreds and even thousands of ‘friends.’ Most of these ‘friends’ are people whom you’ve met once at a party or have a class together back in sophomore year. You aren’t actually friends with them, yet you display to the public that you are. As far as what the mediated public is, they are a place where people can gather publicly through technology, and SNSes are the new mediated public. Rather than a group of friends going to the park to hang out for a few hours, everyone sits at home on their computers and talks and converses with each other online over a public domain. Everything you say and every conversation you have can be replicated and shown to thousands of people with the click of a button; theres no safe way to have a conversation online. If someone wants to find you, its just a few clicks away and they know your whole life story. How do you feel about someone being able to learn so much about you that easily?

In “Here I am Taking My Own Picture,” Alex Williams explains the many reasons why on would take self portraits of themselves and why it has become so widely popular in recent day. Since most self portraits are taken via either a digital camera or a laptop, the amount of pictures one can take are endless. There’s no concern for wasting film and having to buy more or even having to get the film developed. Once a person is in possession of a   camera/laptop they can take as many photos of themselves as they want until they get the perfect shot, even if it takes hundreds of shots; and then only the best shot may be displayed to the public and the rest can just as easily be deleted. My question to you is how have you used the self portrait in your life?

In “NY Congressman Resigns over Shirtless Photo,” Congressman Chris Lee chose to resign from office after a shirtless picture and emails he sent to a younger women leaked to the tabloids. My personal opinion on things like this is dont send any pictures out that you wouldn’t mind everyone seeing. Lee clearly didn’t have the same opinion as me and was very careless with what he chooses to send to people whom he doesn’t even know. Why would a successful person send pictures to someone they met on craigslist?

From “Nationwide Survey Finds a Disconnect Between How Teenage Girls Portray Themselves Online and in Person,” I can take all of that data and come up with one conclusion: girls portray themselves as in a more positive light online but would overall rather not have the sites and just a few close best friends. Would you give up social networking and all the “friends” you have on them to have more face to face interaction with just a few close friends?

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