CHARLES CHEUNG: IDENTITY CONSTRUCTION AND SELF-PRESENTATION ON PERSONAL HOMEPAGES: EMANCIPATORY POTENTIALS AND REALITY CONSTRAINTS

Charles argues that contrary to the suggestion by some internet commentators that personal homepages only function as narcissistic and exhibitionist platforms for users, thereby adding more trivia to the internet, homepages need to be taken more seriously to fully comprehend it.
Interestingly, he posits that homepages are a tool of emancipation for many users, a space where individuals, to a large extent can indulge in their interests and feel free to explore who they are as they are more in control of their self-presentation and the pressures and interference of face-to-face communication is minimal.

He however, assents to the fact that as an emancipatory tool, personal homepages may not have reached its potential as evidenced by the high number of homepages that have been abandoned by users. Apart from that, other constraints such as gender, age and level of income amongst others, affect internet access.

If the authors argument of homepages being an emancipatory tool should be brought to bear on facebook, it could be argued that facebook as a tool of emancipation is not absolute because, although it is computer-mediated communication, since it is not done in anonymity, users may still tend to stay within socially acceptable boundaries.

My final article would be in partial agreement with the argument of this work, it is however important.

MATT HILLS: CASE STUDY: SOCIAL NETWORKING AND SELF-IDENTITY in GLEN CREEBER AND ROYSTON MARTIN (Eds): DIGITAL CULTURES

This book explores a myriad of issues relating to new media in a straight forward and easy to grasp manner. The authors interestingly balanced out their work by having a case study attached to each chapter. These case studies were dedicated to emerging technologies, trends and the issues cropping out of them. Our interest is however, limited to the above titled case study on chapter 7, Participatory culture: mobility, interactivity and identity.
Hills main focus was on facebook as a social networking site, recognizing that not just college students but a whole generation of other users are now on the network.
He draws a correlation between the rise of digital mobile media and increase in users construction of self-identity.
He also noted that, because facebook was originally meant for college students, the nature of the application is such that it offers a viable platform for experimenting with identities and engenders narcissistic behaviours among users.
Through profile information, videos and pictures which users upload to the site, they tend to carve a model of who they are or how they want to be perceived by other users. Hills drives home his point with examples which almost everyone who has had anything to do with facebook would be able to relate with.
This case study provides useful insights into the formation of self-identity on facebook, I consider it relevant to my final article.

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