Constructing different online identities.

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.

Reference List

Duhe, C. S. (2007). New media and Public Relations.

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Communities of interest

Firstly, let’s look at the definition of communities of interest, in the article understanding and analyzing activity and learning in virtual communities, Henri and Pudelko describe communities of interest as “a gathering of people assembled around a topic of common interest. Its members take part … to exchange information, to obtain answer to personal question or problems, to improve their understanding of a subject, to share common passion”.
45 years ago Licklider and Taylor illustrated two examples communities of interest held through the project meeting and face to face through computer where participants must prepare the documents that they need to discuss from the purposes until the status of the model. Therefore it limits the access for more information, besides, it was held in the room with minimum capacity of people. Each participant would come up with various ideas which led to decision making of changing in structure of one model, in that communities of interest, distance was still a matter as those who participated need to meet in order to discuss their interest.
However, Licklider and Taylor were really quite prescient “what will online interactive communities be like? In most fields they will consist of geographically separated members, sometimes grouped in small cluster and sometimes working individually. They will be communities not of common location but of common interest.”
They articulate in this paper one of the most significant aspects of digital networked media “the increasing significance of the jointly constructive, the mutually reinforcing aspect of communication … When minds interact, and new ideas emerge.”
The advanced of technology and software make it easier for “Alternative Technology association” community to share and discuss many issues around the environment. ATA is a non-profit community group that aims to use and promote environmentally friendly technology. With 12 branches and over 5,000 members around Australia and New Zealand, it can be said that they broke the distance matter by each participant can sit behind the computer to participate in the discussion. ATA provides practical information and expertise, based on their members’ hands-on experience which drives its members to engage more in every topic.

In the forum section, it could be seen in the online discussion page is organized and functions very well. As the result, it makes easier for member to post and engaged in the interactive communication with different theme. Guests can only visit and read the page. Membership is determined by joining up with standard $50 per year and there are different types of membership with different cost. Members construct their identity through their topic that they are interested in. Additionally, members do not prepare any files to participate in the online forum; they can share it from other website by using hyperlink and multimedia. Conversely, other members can benefits those hyperlinks to access deep and rich information.

ATA has forum rule where members cannot say things in an aggressive or hurtful manner can result in post being censored by moderators. Privacy and Copyright such as refrain from posting private emails, personal letters/mail, messages from other forums etc is considered violating copyright laws.

Overall, hyperlinks, multimedia, file sharing etc, can all be seen to spring from this idea of a dynamic medium, specifically developed to enhance and expand the possibilities for creative, interactive communication which are completely different with communities of interest in 1968.

Let’s watch the measurement engaging communities of interest

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