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On the outside I am a 21 year old Commnications student at the University of Ottawa as well as a part-time Barista. I work long hours and am always grumpy. I have tattoos so that must mean that I listen to punk or loud music.  I put a lot of effort into my outfits and always dress obscurely, which demonstrates my love for fashion, right? Wrong…. or at least in the world wide web it is.

On my blog/in World of Warcraft/on my v-log I am a multitalented, food critic/rogue-zombie-wizard/a comedian-fashion critic, sharing my opinion and my face with the world. Don’t be fooled by my exterior, this is my real identity.

In all seriousness, identies formed on the internet can be the most extravagant things. As said in class “Internet could provide new values, something we desperately need,” and so far this is true through its rapidly innovating culture.  Culture is something that provides us with scripts, but is not an “iron cage” that says that the scripts provided must be followed exclusively. It pulls things from different aspects around us and creates characteristics that make each culture distinct.  Culture also provides choices, it forces us to choose how we want to represent ourselves. Commercial media = the main provider of these scripts, and therefore produce our identity.

But now-a-days it is obvious that we have a new form of prouction: amateur mode. This new mode is quite influential, as given that it is just as accessible and often more relatable than the mainstream media, it is also creating culture and therefore shaping our identities.  Some examples of this would be:

  • Jackass, many videos recreating the stupid events taking place in the shows have been made in the past, and even sometimes considered a part of someone’s personality.  For a while, there were kids who actually wanted to do things, like stand in a port-a-potty and have it pushed over with them inside for a living.
  • Phil DeFranco: people all over the internet are copying his style of blogging, but he might not necessarily be the original of his kind.
  • J & J’s wedding dance: this sort of wedding entrance is being mimicked all over the world, and is an extremely popular video on youtube now. Even the popular show “The Office” copied it and used a dance sequence into a wedding ceremony in the show.

People now know Phil DeFranco based on his constructed identity, and some people copy him and incorporate his style into their lives. Others will be doing “wedding dances” for years to come, but youtube isn’t the only form of building an identity.

For our group project, we have been considering focusing on identity on the internet, although it is a broad topic some of the aspects we were considering looking at were:

  • The types of identity and where they are formed: social networking sites like facebook vs. youtube.  Youtube is pretty exposing of the subject in the video, but facebook can be controlled. How do people share their information on facebook? How personal is it? Is it too MUCH information? Why do they share this much information? How much of it is true?
  • World of Warcraft: as stated in class, Dr. Strangelove joked (but he could have been serious), about pretending to be a 16 year old girl as he plays his games. How much honesty is behind each of these characters? Do people take their characters seriously in real life? Why do they choose to play this game that costs so much money, and is so time consuming?
  • Branching outward: Look at celebrities of today. Lady Gaga and Spencer and Heidi from the Hills. Who are these people and why do they deserve the attention they get? There is no logical response, but they are famous for something (although I am a fan of both the Hills and Lady Gaga, I recognize that they are entirely overhyped). What do they do? Heidi and Spencer (or Speidi as they’re more commonly known) are famous for being on a reality show that gets less than 5million viewers a season and Lady Gaga writes mediocre songs but seems to have a large cult follwing and she only emerged in the past year. Either way, these people are famous for doing their jobs, living up to their media-created, superficial identities.
  • Celebrity blogs: although we all read them (or at least most of us do), celebrity bloggers are becoming more and more popular. People like Perez Hilton and Harvey Levin of TMZ are becoming famous because of these blogs, but are not significant otherwise. Why do we like them so much? Yes, they give us gossip on the rich and famous, but other than that what are their identities? Who are they and why do we view them as so credible?

Although this is a very vague idea of what could be talked about in our group project, there is still lots of information that can back up each of these points, as well as opinions and even firsthand ethnographic/interpersonal research. This project will be a very interesting piece to work on, for sure.

– Gillian Holloway

Lady Gaga, pop star and media darling. This girl features the words "Pop Culture" on a pair of light up sunglasses in one of her music videos, but she was obviously not always this obscure. Hopefully more research will offer information on her real identity.

Spencer and Heidi put on bunny ears for easter. Considering this is not something most regular people would consider doing, why do Heidi and Spencer feel the need to?

Although they work for seperate celebrity blogs, Havey Levin and Perez Hilton are pictured here, together. Could this be because they are sharing an inside joke based on the fabrication of their identities as well as their needless stardom?

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