Social media has become a part of our daily routines, a continuous part and factor of our lives since the height of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Nearly every individual has a use for some type of social media, and because of this, near every individual has their own way of usage for it as well. The use of social platforms is such a broad spectrum, pages can be used to sell products, profiles to display your own life and interests.
What do you use social media for?
I grew up in that wonderful age of social media discovery, where sites and platforms were just coming of age and popularity. Because of this, I have been online and engaged since I was young, probably when I was too young. Over time my use for socials has definitely changed, especially with the “death” of places like Tumblr and the rise of Tik Tok. However, places like Tumblr are where I got my start in media.
Tumblr, in its 2010’s prime, was either a loved or hated platform, and no matter what your feelings were on it, Tumblr offered something that other places did not. “While it has the social appeal of Facebook, the aesthetics of Instagram….the site has the one thing that the others don’t — anonymity.” But not only that, the platform also “provides no contest for the most thumbs up or double taps.”
In many ways, social media is viewed to be a ‘third space’ next to a private home environment and publics. “third spaces are sites of practice and negotiation, where connections and identities emerge through interaction…”
With just how much social media has taken part of our lives, it has enabled us to formulate our own personal identities online. To put it simply, your online persona is the you of which exists online out in the open. “the public self is the ‘official’ version…a highly polished, scheduled and controlled version that is produced and performed.” It is the identity of which we built and centred around ourselves.
What is your online persona?
As I said before, I grew up in the age of the internet, and that has had an impact on my identity as a whole, not just the persona I show online. Part of the appeal for Tumblr was the ability to connect with others about niche cultures. “Tumblr fandom users present a unique culture.” For me, I built an identity around the subculture of ‘emo’ and ‘pop-punk’. “Blogs consisting of Tigers Jaw lyric edits on a washed out forest image, and bedrooms shining with fairy lights over a Citizen Youth banner, were widely popular.” I used the platform to create a sense of self that was, at first, separate to my ‘real life’ identity. Over time, my ‘real life’ identity and the one I offer up the world online has become more or less the same, and really I have social media like Tumblr to thank for my early self discovery.
Hillman, S., Procyk, J. and Neustaedter, C. (n.d.). Tumblr fandoms, community & culture. Proceedings of the companion publication of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing – CSCW Companion ’14. [online] Available at: https://www.academia.edu/5174465/Tumblr_Fandoms_Community_and_Culture
Junkee. (2020). How Emo Went From A Punchline to Critical Acclaim. [online] Available at: https://junkee.com/emo-underrated-acclaimed/242169
BCM111, UOW, Lecture slides, week four, Dr Renee Middlemost, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/2479560/mod_resource/content/1/BCM111%20Week%204%20Lecture.pdf
Lee, E. (2016). Tumblr users seek to create identity over image. [online] Daily Trojan. Available at: https://dailytrojan.com/2016/03/31/tumblr-users-seek-create-identity-image/
Moore, C., Barbour, K. and Lee, K. (2017). Five Dimensions of Online Persona. Persona Studies, [online] 3(1), pp.1–12. Available at: https://ojs.deakin.edu.au/index.php/ps/article/view/658
Pennington, R. (2018). Social media as third spaces? Exploring Muslim identity and connection in Tumblr. International Communication Gazette, 80(7), pp.620–636 .https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1748048518802208