Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Facebook and Mythologizing the Self

Hmmm. That might be a pretentious title, but it's the one I'm most satisfied with right now.

At any rate, what's great about social networking sites is that you get to create your own persona if you choose to invest in it. It can be particularly revealing considering what kind of profile picture a person selects for themselves. I've attempted to break down all the possible choices. Let me know if there's any I've missed:
  • At home
  • On holiday
  • At party
  • At fancy dress party
  • Studio photo
  • Childhood photo
  • With girlfriend/ boyfriend
  • With spouse
  • With buddy
  • With child/ grandchild
  • Something done to your face (e.g. Yearbook Yourself/ Cartoon avatar/ MorphThing)
  • A photo of something else (e.g. a painting they drew/ movie freeze frame/ funny picture)
  • Their pet
  • Their shadow (particularly popular amongst artists)
  • Picture of a celebrity/ cartoon character
  • 'In action' - e.g. at work
  • Their hands
  • Clowning around
For all the variety here, I think that the range of face expressions are fairly limited (although there is room for variation within these categories)
  • Smiling nicely
  • Sultry
  • Moody
  • Pulling a funny face
  • Engaged in something
I think that the persona people attempt to develop for themselves can fit into the following categories, and sometimes it's a combination:
  • I'm attractive
  • I'm mysterious
  • I'm unconventional
  • I'm unconventional even by unconventional standards
  • I'm wacky and don't care who knows it/ I don't take myself seriously
  • I'm creative
  • I play it straight
  • I'm one of the lads/ girls
  • I love my friends/ partner/ children
I've never seen "I'm hard" as a profile picture, but would imagine that's because I wouldn't befriend someone who would use that as their persona.

I think everything has pretty much been covered here. If you can think of any curve balls that I haven't spotted, let me know...

2 comments:

Karen Burke said...

Have you read this?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/09/social-networking-family-friends

Paul Taberham said...

hmmm! well, it's a good article in that it gets my brain flowing on how i think it's a suspect article. might blog about it some time...
(thanks hon)