Tuesday, April 8, 2008
American Teens "writing themselves into being"
The popularity of social networking sites, particularly Myspace, which Dannah Boyd discusses in her article "Why Youth (Heart) Social Networking Sites" is particularly apparent amongst teens. Social forums such as Myspace allow teens an opportunity to socialize in a "public" forum, but with a greater degree of control than in normal social situations. Myspace allows teens to edit and sculpt the information and image they make available to the public before it actually becomes available to the public. This provides teens with a "safer" space for public interaction because, unlike face to face social interaction which is unpredictable and changes moment to moment, they have the opportunity to reflect on how their interactions will be percieved before interacting. I believe this is simultaneously helpful and harmful to teens. On one hand, teens having an opportunity to sculpt their public image can enable them to control how they are percieved and may reduce social anxiety that may occur in face to face interaction. On the other hand, this carefully edited image is influenced by numerous factors present in the normal teen socialization forum, teens still feel the pressure to look "cool". Facing this pressure, teens may "write themselves into being" by creating an online identity of what they strive to be, instead of the reality of their personality. This could create a whole host of problems.
Posted by Meghan Doocy at 6:14 PM