Reflect upon how you balance the public, the private, the personal in relation to the social media that you already use:
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The Internet has changed the way we live and communicate with one another. Social media is appreciated because it possesses the ability to connect people even if they may be millions of miles away.  We are so attracted to the idea of social media because here we have the ability to control our individual identities and interactions. I use social media sites for the purpose of connecting and staying in touch with my friends and relatives. Online communication is popular because it is appreciated for the “silence of connection”. In the article “Cyberspace and Identity” Sherry Turkle argues that we are comforted by having the ability to communicate with so many people and that to with such ease. We have the opportunity to communicate with one another at a distance we can control, which is why social is media is so attractive to us. This is something I really like about social media sites. I am able to connect to people when I choose while still being in the comfort of my own home. In the TED Blog Sherry Turkle refers to this as the “Goldilocks effect”. She refers to this as having the desire to be with each of but at the same time apart.  

Whether or not one tries to change themselves in an online environment, one can never be completely different than their true selves. Online members have the ability to modify their personal persona; however can we really modify our true selves without adding some of our actual personalities?  With our increasing dependence on technology it seems that having an identity in the cyber world is becoming a growing phenomenon.  With this comes the challenge of balancing our public persona and our private persona in relation to its privacy implications. Consenting members of the online community we have the ability to choose how much we want to divulge. Sherry Turkle in a New York Times article writes that “Texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be. This means we can edit.” This is one of the main reasons I feel the online membership is so active. With these technologies we have the ability to control our persona. The keyword here is control, being in control is characterized with power which is a personal need that each human being desires. The fact that we posses this control, we feel important and the personal desire to be in control is in part fulfilled.  

As of right now I use Facebook, Instragram, Email, and Pinterest. Facebook is obviously the most well-known and popular social media website. Although there are many surveillance and security issues associated with social media network I have still chosen to use it. I have become more aware of online privacy over the last couple of years thanks to the government who has made efforts to educate citizens about the dangerous of the cyber world. I do knowledge the issues and concerns involved with online participation and for that reason I am much more cautious about interacting online. The reason I feel comfortable using Facebook is because I have the ability to balance and control my public persona. I can choose to share what I want therefore have the ability to choose what private information I want to make public. Facebook has different features available that make it easier to balance the public, private and personal information. Only my cover photo, name and education is made visible to the public. And only my friends on Facebook can view my photos, status updates and posts. When I need to contact someone privately I usually send them an inbox message which only they are able to view. Because Facebook offers its users the ability to control public, private and personal information, makes it such a popular networking site.

Work Cited:

Turkle, S.  (1999). Cyberspace and identity. Contemporary Sociology. 28(6). 643-648. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.brocku.ca/stable/pdfplus/2655534.pdf?acceptTC=true

Turkle, S. (2012). Places we don’t want to go. TED. Retrieved from http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/places-we-dont-want-to-go-sherry-turkle-at-ted2012/

Cyberspace and Identity Sherry Turkle Contemporary Sociology Vol. 28, No. 6 (Nov., 1999), pp. 643-648
http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.brocku.ca/stable/pdfplus/2655534.pdf?acceptTC=true

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2 responses »

  1. Steph says:

    The Internet poses multiple advantages where people across the country or throughout the world can communicate with one another. For example, I have a lot of family in Malta and without the Internet I would not be able to keep in touch with them. Since there is a major time difference, it allows the both of us to respond and reply whenever it is convenient for us. This is one of the aspects I really like about the Internet; you can leave the conversation and come back to it later.
    One of the disadvantages to the Internet are the multiple identities that people can have on different social media networks. Another issue is the fact that once something is on the Internet, it cannot be eliminated which can cause problems later on in life when trying to apply to jobs.
    My Facebook profile is kept very private where only the friends that I have accepted can se the information that I have provided. The information that I have put on my Facebook is kept very basic as I do not want people that I have only met a couple of times knowing contact numbers. Those who have my contact numbers are people that I have personally given it to. Even some of the people that are considered a friend on Facebook cannot see everything as I have hidden photos from certain friends on Facebook. I believe Facebook does make it easier to hid information from groups of people but Facebook is continuously adapting and changing making the settings difficult to find.

  2. Amanda Avila says:

    I feel as though the point you brought up about the Goldilock effect that Sherry Turkle brought up in TED talk was very relevant to how online social media sites are shaping the way we interact with each other. I often notice that when there is a group of people that are all friends sitting in the same room each person will be connected to their cell phones on their online profiles. This is an example of being alone together. We are with each other physically but mentally we are apart because we are zoned into the information that we want to be surrounded with, not the conversation that is going on in the room we are in.

    Also the point you brought up about how people can modify their online profiles to make themselves look a certain way was interesting. This means that through social media profiles we can make ourselves look and be the person we want to be. This is almost scary in a way because we do not really truly know who we are talking to or looking at through online profiles. A person who claims to be male can actually be female, information can be altered and, pictures can be edited. This is why I do not understand why companies decide to hire people based on their online profiles like LinkedIn. It is a way for employer to “lurk” a potentail candidate that they are going to hire, based on looks and professional success, however online profiles do not show a persons social skills and attitude. This is why I feel online profiles for hiring people is ridiculous.

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