What I like about this section of the class is that it really ties in with the other material and concepts we’ve learned thus far including, but not limited to, privacy, publicity, and performance of identities. Performance is a particularly crucial element in this section on the networked self and digital reputation management; it is one of the core concepts in communications studies. Wether we are aware of it or not, we are ALWAYS performing. The way we perform, however, is altered by the audience. If a student tells his best friend about a party he or she went to last weekend they would not tell the same version of the story to their parents. This simple example is completely escalated once it enters the digital world. No longer can we simply perform through speech because our facebooks, our twitters, or any other form of social media involve different elements that either help or hinder our real life identities that define our digital reputation. But once again, we all try our bests to keep our digital reputations as close to our actual reputations.

How many of us know some real dirt-bags in our lives? These people, if they’re smart enough, will keep a squeaky clean representation of themselves through social media. They make sure to delete unfavorable comments from friends, they untag themselves from certain photos, and they overemphasize the importance of certain elements of their lives (religion, politics, relationships). Good for them! On the contrary, some people get really screwed over by the poor upkeep of their digital reputation. We’ve all heard the stories of teachers and other professionals getting fired from their jobs for the content of their social media outputs. To put this all into perspective, one must realize that your digital reputation is only PARTIALLY controlled by you; it is strongly impacted by your networked self as well as your audience.

Because I am not as familiar with twitter as I am with more complex social networks, I paid special attention to the content in the article by Alice Marwick and Danah Boyd, “I Tweet Honestly…” in order to understand primary sources’ perspectives on this cultural phenomenon. I found it interesting that some twitterers (is that a word?), in regards to who they feel they are speaking to when they tweet, said that they truly feel like they are writing to themselves. The notion of a “public diary” if entertained. I found this series of responses very relatable in my limited usage of twitter. What’s so strange is that when I write on facebook, I feel as if I am writing to the 367 “friends” I have, when in reality only a handful of those people will actually see it, even less with take note of it, and even less will respond to it. However, when I tweet I also feel like I am only writing to myself when the reality is that every single human with online access has the ability to read my tweet.

This actually encourages me to tweet more, in a way, knowing that many others share the same feeling. I wonder if this dueling feeling of audience size is brought on by the knowing of the people I am networked with on facebook as opposed to the audience size of twitter. Anyone else share the sentiment?


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