Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Writing Exercise

Sabrina* utilizes vibrant photos and endearing captions in order to convey a sense of light-heartedness about life, which seems to match the idea that people on social media focus on the moments they think not only themselves will enjoy but that other people will want to see. Sabrina maintains this socially accepted sense of self-identity as the idealistic girl next door, who enjoys nature, friends, and family. This performance is expressed through many nature photos that are not taken with an iPhone, meaning there was effort to put them onto this social media site. The nature photos are often accompanied by uplifting sayings, which may be posted for the benefit of others. These captions include "capturing moments of beauty" and "roses and sunshine, the best way to start a day." With these postings, Sabrina seems to be conforming to the performance norm of accompanying a visually pleasing photo with an equally pleasing caption. The performance would be shattered if Sabrina posted captions about how awful her life was or how she may truly feel with these photos. In this way, Sabrina is conforming to a social media norm. Sabrina also expresses light-heartedness through the posts that she has of her friends, both here at college and at home. These photos appear to be well-picked moments that resemble happiness between the friends. The text with these photos becomes particularly important, as the caption that accompanies it shows her closeness with the people in the photo. The uniqueness of each caption that accompanies these photos is highly important. Goffman mentioned that part of performance can be making one person feel special, so for example, if one expressed gratitude to one person and did so to 50 others in the same manner in front of that person, that expression of gratitude would lose meaning. Sabrina seems to either unconsciously or consciously understand society's demand to make such expressions unique on public sites, for each person receives a caption, some shorter or longer than others, that allows for differentiation. These include "couldn't ask for better dates than these two" with two friends and "home is where the heart is" with her parents. Therefore, in these photos, Sabrina seems to highly conform to what society dictates should be presented on social media sites, presenting a positive image that is expressed in the form of visually pleasing photos and positive captions.  

*not real name 

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