| WE ARE WHAT WE POST
An analysis of the affects social media has on adolescent
BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion and Imaging
Word Count: 7200
26th January 2018
Literature Review …………………………………………………………………………………………………….4
Chapter 1: Self-presentation ……………………………………………………………………………………10
Chapter 2: …………………………..
Chapter 3: ………………………………….
List of Illustrations …………………………
“We humans have carved, painted, drawn, sculpted and written about ourselves since we first found ways of making marks in the world.” – J.W. Rettburg (2014)
In todays digital culture, adolescents have been identified as the generation with the highest consumptions of internet use. Since the development of new technology and the rise of digital culture it is easier to create and share content online of our self-representation. Especially within Western society it has been proposed that the evolution of social media
With this generations effortless accessibility to modern digital technology, it is easier to create and share content online of our self-representation. The majority of content shared through social media sites (SNSs) consist usually of visual images, hyperlinks, and textual information that these online users post to project an online self. Self-presentation is generally considered to be motivated by a desire to make a favourable ‘impression’ on others that corresponds to one’s ideals. As such, self-presentation is centrally involved in impression management and the projection of an online identity (cf. Schlenker, 1980; Naughton, 2000; Lanier, 2010).
To be able to investigate the construction of online or social identity on social platforms, it is imperative to first comprehend the definition of identity and consider the different methods of self-presentation in todays digitally driven culture.
The most basic function of self-presentation is to define the nature of a social situation (Goffman, 1959). From Erving Goffman point of view, identity is understood through interaction and performance. Supporting this, emphasised by George J. McCall and J. L. Simmons’ theory on role identity, “the character and the role that an individual devises for himself (herself as well) as an occupant of a particular social position” (McCall and Simmons, 1987). This is typically improvised as individuals seek an imaginative perspective of oneself in a position, often a rather idealised view of oneself. Arguably however Tajfel (1979) proposes that social categorisation give a sense of social identity, a source of pride and self-esteem.
The Power of Social Media
The Internet has profoundly changed the human experience. As “digital natives” (Pensky, 2001) we use the mediation of technology to help us see ourselves better, to understand ourselves or to improve ourselves. Social media is about communication with others. Many social media sites not only grant users to generate virtual profiles but to visually display direct links to their social networks (boyd and Ellison, 2007; Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010; Lenhart et al., 2010)
One theory proposes that adolescents use the Internet in an attempt to further elucidate their identities and may be able to explore their ideal identities, expand their knowledge of the world, or find new role models or attach- ment figures (Jensen, 2003). Social media is used as a platform offers an opportunity for teenagers to be- come connected to a wide array of individuals. It allows un- paralleled breadth of social exposure, while at the same time limiting communication through nonverbal cues such as body language and facial expression.
It is of paramount importance to assess the impact that social media has on adolescent developmental processes and generate plausible hypotheses in the Digital Age. Despite many social changes, adolescence remains a critical period for development in terms of biological changes, cognitive development, social learning and forma- tion of a consolidated self. The end point of development may be defined as successful adult functioning within soci- ety (Rutter & Sroufe, 2000).
but we should be equally aware of how we use social media to reflect upon ourselves.
The majority of existing social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and have granted users to create online profiles and visually display As “digital natives” a term coined by Pensky (2001) in this current society
Social media As “digital natives” coined by Pensky, 2001
Having observed several themes around identity and representation, one key theoretical approach linked within them is the sociological approach. A topic I would like to focus on throughout this dissertation is how an individual may choose to visually project oneself online through the use of language and images. Theorist John Berger (1972) highlights the premise that the way we visualize certain things is determined by our beliefs and experiences of the world we know differently.
Filters and Selfies
Creating and sharing a selfie is an act of self-representation – which as Gunn Enli and Nancy Thumin (2012) note, means that it involves the creation of texts which will be read and interpreted. A selfie also exists in a social context, once shared. But just as importantly, creating and sharing a selfie or a stream of selfies is a form of self-reflection and self- creation.
Micro-celebrities & Self Branding (250)
Evidently emerging from the literature is notions of expression of the “True Self” on the internet, assessment of the impacts of online pressures within the beauty blogging community particularly social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. Nevertheless how these visual representations are emulated by young adolescents. Academics approach these concerns from various perspectives such as writing on the negative effects mainstream media has on our own self identity and the body image aiming to conform to social norms. Other theories include exploring identity experiments, self-objectification and gender politics. Subsequently, this thesis will aim to scrutinise authenticity online, self-representation and analyse the negative effects social media sites have on young adults.
Chapter One seeks to address the genuineness of social media on public figures by their online profiles Instagram and Youtube, also examining the effects of visual contents adolescents come across by applying Erving Goffman’s model of impression management involving ‘performing’ identities *meeting social expectations and Susan Sontag’s discussion on the power of photography in relation to the idealistic notions of Capitalist societies. This chapter will analyse screenshots of online “verified” profiles Gina Shkeda and Essensa O’neil taken from Instagram and Twitter, whilst also using Walker’s theory of representation and self-exploration through #selfies and images.
Chapter Two touches on the idealistic body image and online shaming.
Chapter Three examines branding and the use of micro-celebrity to endorsements products using social media.
Chapter One: (2000)
As mentioned in my Methodology, within this chapter I will attempt to analyse examples of visual content shared across online profiles on social media sites. I will also discuss the various affects and influences these images and use of language had on adolescent females. My research will consider how adolescent females view these representation of femininity and project the ideology of beauty ideals in todays society whilst also examining how they use content to influence their self-presentation online.
Instagram is a modern form of online communication which unveiled as a free mobile photo app by Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger in October 2010. Since the launch it has seen rapid growth and quickly emerged as one of todays generations most popular mediums used to easily create and share content. Figure. 1. displays a screenshot image of public figure and make-up guru Gina Shkeda from her ‘verified’ Instagram profile. The image presents a framed mid shot selfie of her face photographed in a slight angle. Within the close-up it is clear that Gina Shkeda is in a laying down position holding the camera outstretched above her head looking directly up into the lens of the camera. The direct eye contact creates a connection between the object – here being Gina Shkeda – and the viewer, enticing them…… Depending on how the viewer sees the image, it can be portrayed as flirty and/or in a seductive manner (looking up or sideways at the viewer) however not in a sexualising way. And although her body is not presented in the shot (figure 1) her left shoulder is bare and visible to the viewers. With the screenshot only showing her face as the focal point, the rest of her body neck down shown is covered up leaving little room to show an extension of her neck and shoulder. As Katie Warwick points out, the outstretched arm is like a (forced) embrace, placing the viewer between the face of the person photographed and the camera (Warfield 2014). Following the theory Simone de Beauvoir’ (1997), the “ideal of feminine beauty is variable, but certain elements remain constant; for one thing since woman is destined to be possessed her body must present the inert and passive quality of an object”
Following the theory that
By applying Susan Sontag’s theory on Gina Shkeda’s selfie that “photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing – which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defence against anxiety, and a tool of power” (Sontag, 1979). Sontag is implying that the use of photography here
Further analysing Figure. 1. Gina Shkeda
In 2014, a unrehearsed trend circulated the internet by women posting online selfies with no make up on with the hashtag: #Nomakeupselfie.
Urban Dictionary definition of the term selfie says:
“A symptom of the current narcissistic epidemic whereby the subject takes a filtered, highly polished (often completely over-exposed) photograph of themselves and uploads it to Instagram, Facebook, or some other social media outlet. It’s often motivated by a need for adulation, attention, or validation…” (Urban Dictionary).
Further examining Gina Shkeda’s self portraiture
Following alongside Gina Shkeda’s selfie is another screenshot of a fan projecting envy
Youtube Beauty Vlogger, over 480,000 subscribers
Certified on Instagram, 808,000 followers
22 Years Old, Canada
Twitter Fan: “If I could wake up as beautiful as @Ginashkeda i’d be the happiest girl alive #naturalbeauty”
Gina: “Girl I have micro bladed brows, last extensions in and lip injections – I don’t even look like this…You’re flawless”
Figure Two: Essena O’Neill
Certified Instagram Model, followers unknown – inactive
‘LetsBeGameChangers’ – questioning social media and encouraging followers to think about the way they use social media
20 Years Old, Australia
Chapter Two (1250)
Yoga Teacher, Body Positivity Advocate
“How do I feel? Rather than “How do I look?”
Youtube Influencer, ‘Internets Big Sister’
Plus Size and Supports body positivity
Chapter Three (1250)
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