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Self-representation And Self-exposure Through Online Networks

During May, Kerry Mallan, a Professor in the School of Cultural and Language Studies in Education at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, published an article at the Digital Culture & Education online journal. The author has published widely in the areas of youth literature and film, and youth studies. Her research is transdisciplinary across cultural studies, literary studies, cyberstudies, and education. Now she presents Look at me! Look at me! Self-representation and self-exposure through online networks to discuss on the "complexities of self-representation and self-exposure with respect to friendships, surveillance, and privacy."

The abstract is what follows (the stressed part is ours):

    With the ever more user-friendly Web, the opportunities to use available channels of online communication complicate ways in which individuals oscillate between exhibition and inhibition, self-exposure and self-preservation, authenticity and deception. This paper draws on empirical research with high school students to examine the ways in which youth represent themselves and interact with friends and others in online networks such as MySpace. The conceptual framework for the discussion draws on the politics of visibility and notions of spatiality. These twin factors have consequences for new modes of technologically-mediated modes of representation with respect to community, friends, communication, and recognition. They also are helpful for considering what self-exposure means in terms of trust, risk, and privacy. The paper argues that there is no escaping the fact that online networks and other related activities hold both promise and peril. However, in constructing new social practices that traverse public and private spaces, technology itself is a key player in shaping how a community contributes to an individual’s identity formation and social activities.

Should the reader be more interested on this topic? Please, head over the journal for a complete results on the research with students about most prominent social networking sites (SNS) but particularly MySpace.

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