Friday, April 13, 2012

Facebook As Self-Presentation

Interesting article:
Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?, by Stephen Marche, The Atlantic, May 2012

"Jaron Lanier, the author of You Are Not a Gadget, was one of the inventors of virtual-reality technology. His view of where social media are taking us reads like dystopian science fiction: “I fear that we are beginning to design ourselves to suit digital models of us, and I worry about a leaching of empathy and humanity in that process.”

Lanier argues that Facebook imprisons us in the business of self-presenting, and this, to his mind, is the site’s crucial and fatally unacceptable downside.

Lanier and Turkle are right, at least in their diagnoses. Self-presentation on Facebook is continuous, intensely mediated, and possessed of a phony nonchalance that eliminates even the potential for spontaneity. (“Look how casually I threw up these three photos from the party at which I took 300 photos!”)

Curating the exhibition of the self has become a 24/7 occupation. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the Australian study “Who Uses Facebook?” found a significant correlation between Facebook use and narcissism: “Facebook users have higher levels of total narcissism, exhibitionism, and leadership than Facebook nonusers,” the study’s authors wrote. “In fact, it could be argued that Facebook specifically gratifies the narcissistic individual’s need to engage in self-promoting and superficial behavior.”
It wasn't Marche's lonliness argument that interested me so much as his point that "Facebook imprisons us in the business of self-presenting." Facebook does seem to foster, and to reward, exhibitionism.
Photo from a CNNMoney article, We All Want To Be Liked: Facebook's Narcissist Effect.


Adele Hawkins said...

I think this is true for most social networking sites. These days, I mainly use facebook to link people to my blog, where I suppose I concentrate more on self presentation than I do on my actual facebook page.

Bix said...

Adele, you have a real talent. Your site is a showcase of your talent which I think is a good thing.

There's a risk in portraying Facebook as this or that. It's many things. I guess it depends on how you use it, what you do with it. Like most things it runs along a continuum, from, in this case, vacuous self-promotion to functional presentation. said...

Facebook is dangerous . with all the social networks such as linked in, twitte and another one opening every other day, one can fix the many puzzles in writing a paragraph about somebody we do not know at all.

A facebook also makes a PR jobs slim!