It’s human nature for people to seek and acquire relationships, and with that comes the compelling addictiveness and emergence of social media’s draw, it’s made communicating with people in an informal way easier than ever before. Seeking and establishing social connections (Friends/Friends list) online, and joining an online community (game spaces, music clubs, book clubs). “Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations,” stated Patrick Liszkiewicz. I often feel the same obligations apply to all types of online communities, especially video games. Individuals want to also establish their own individuality to help further their relevance on social media and in their communities. This will hopefully lead to stronger social connections, possibly even new ones. People develop their own languages, and types of communication (slang) between the collective groups that typically wouldn’t make sense to anyone outside of the group. Online communities have a plethora of benefits and drawbacks. Some communities can literally be your best friend or completely mind fuck you. “Online, where anyone can go viral and be excoriated or beatified by the masses, we are less of an individual than ever. Others blast us as if we were not human — just look up the comments on any YouTube documentary about anorexia, and see how many people urge the mentally-ill subjects to kill themselves,” stated Anna Mussmann with the federalist. In my personal experience the latter tends to be the case more than ever before. Without a community that essentially backs whatever opinion you hold, it’s invalid. Or, if you disagree with the collective group you can’t earn respect, or your ideas are thrown out.
“Photos, posts, comments and blogs can be used as tools to help enhance a user’s identity,” said tamlin. It’s believed that the individuals you see on social media are essentially that person shown in a light that’s favorable to their personal liking in combination with what’s deemed socially acceptable, instead of their online persona being an accurate profile of who they actually are. It’s difficult to disagree with this because I feel, though we look for some type of individuality, it’s increasingly difficult to personally portray yourself in a light that would accurately depict who you are. Individual identity plays a huge role when applying oneself to social media sites, I think the real question is: how different is your individual identity on social media from reality? In many ways don’t individuals attempt to commit the same act of portraying the person they want to be in public as they do on their social media page? I think reading through the articles this week, the main focus was how individuals craft their individual identity to portray them in the most positive light possible, but I definitely feel like this act of disguising who you really are to the public is something people do on a daily basis regardless of social media. For example I don’t think I personally wear a particular shirt to school on Monday because I WANT to wear the shirt, it a combination of things that lead me to choosing said shirt. I think I take into account my tastes, level of comfort I want that day, and whatever I think might be socially acceptable at the time. I think people are always trying to portray the person they want to be, not 100% who they actually are (is that even possible in public?). Whether it’s who people want to be, or a combination of several things in my opinion, there’s no question that individual identity is something everyone is actively seeking.
Liszkiewicz Patrick. “Cultivated Play: Farmville” Berfrois. Pendant Publishing, 21 Oct 2010. 08 Feb 2015.
Mussmann Anna. “Facebook Mobs and the Death of Individuality” The federalist. Ben Domenech, 4 Nov 2014. 08 Feb 2015.
Tamlin. “Online Communities and Social Networks enable self-affirmation, personal validation and exploration of identity for users” WordPress (Network conference). 25 Apr 2011. 08 Feb 2015.