According Reid Hoffman in his article called Shape your identity or it will shape you. Mr. Hoffman defines identities as “Identity comes from choice; choice comes from identity. On a daily basis, the actions you take, the people you spend time with, and the principles you choose to defend will define your identity. Therefore, you should choose to construct an identity that signals to the world your core values and unique choices”. Therefore, identity is important because it helps us to know who we are and what we stand for in a given situation or society.
However, in these days where technology and social media have become part of people’s life, many people have used it as the tools to construct online identities through social networking services. According to Duhe (2007, p.52) The affordance of social networking services which enables its users to be user generated content where they can communicate virtually with their peers group or making new friends, creating a content, sharing links of music, video, participate in the online community groups discussion. The affordances of social media have given unique freedom for many people to create their own identities.
In the article from Livingstone (2008) conducted small scale interview study of teenage social networking use. Starts with a description of social concern about it “it is commonly held that at best, social networking is time-wasting and socially isolating, and at worst it allows paedophiles to groom children in their bedroom or sees teenagers lured into suicide pacts while parents think they are doing their homework.” She concentrates on teenager’s use of the internet. So it could fit into a uses and gratifications model of research, although I don’t know that Livingstone herself would agree. Hence, Her comments on the differences between young and older teenagers, Facebook and MySpace users the key difference seems to be in self-actualisation which I think kind of like identity construction and development of ideas as to the development of self/identity. In conclusion she says “Selves are constituted through interaction with others and, for today’s teenagers, self actualization increasingly includes a careful negotiation between the opportunities for identity, intimacy, sociability and risks regarding privacy, misunderstanding, abuse afforded by internet-mediated communication.” Livingstone describes the actuality of self formation and actualization, a much more personalised interaction potential.
Here is the video of how a facebook user constructs her identities online.
From the example above, it is clearly that she constructs her online identity as a Rutgers college student through her cover photo, her interest and her status. Additionally she outlines herself as part of one community and social. Therefore it can be said that she construct her identity as what Livingstone mentioned in the reading.
This is another example of how people construct online identity through LinkedIn.
This profile shows different identities of him comparing to facebook user above. In LinkedIn profile he appears to be more sophisticated and professional by giving resume of education, work experience, user can also share information by publishing their own writing and people can endorse your skills and expertise. Obviously LinkedIn help users to reach wider networking and each day learn more about information in their expertise area.
Hence, to some extend it can be said that Livingstone idea of “Selves are constituted through interaction with others and, for today’s teenagers, self actualization increasingly includes a careful negotiation between the opportunities for identity, intimacy, sociability and risks regarding privacy, misunderstanding, abuse afforded by internet-mediated communication” is valid for users who construct their identity through social media such as facebook. However, the presence of LinkedIn has proven that people can reach wider network and gain more knowledge through construct online identities.
Duhe, C. S. (2007). New media and Public Relations.
Youtube URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRK1aOmMr7g, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR9r9mqEZVU