Archive for the ‘Identity’ Category

“Dr Himanshu Tyagi, a psychiatrist at West London Mental Health Trust, said that people born after 1990, who were just five-years-old or younger when the use of Internet became mainstream in 1995, have grown up in a world dominated by online social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.” It is said later on in the article on http://www.medicalnewstoday.com (called ‘Facebook Generation’ Faces Identity Crisis), that these children tend to act more impulsively, erratically and that the risk of suicide is increased.

Dr. Tyagi goes on to explain that not only are these children at risk for social disorders, but they are also at risk for losing the real meaning of interpersonal relationships which we as people use to build our identities. This is done through feedback on how much we disclose about ourselves and how we act around people in real life, with the internet we have a screen as a barrier and can put on facades which could lead to alterations in our personalities, (and by could I mean usually leads to alterations in our personalities). Dr. Tyagi goes on to say “A session in front of the computer was also likely to create ‘an altered perception, a dream-like state, an unnatural blending of their mind with the other person – something that rarely happens in real life. The new generation raised alongside internet is attaching an entirely different meaning to friendship and relations, something we are largely failing to notice’.”

With all this negativity, it is hard to see how the internet and these websites could even be looked at in a positive way, ruining kids’ identities and being tied to suicide? Redefining friendship? Perhaps parents should step in and introduce some old fashioned communication skills into their children’s lives.

– Gillian Holloway


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In the beginning…

The first few entries I wrote don’t really connect to this blog material-wise. They do connect with the topic of our project, though. To tie the blog entries from the beginning into our current theme, I have racked my brain to come up with something that the majority of these entries have in common with the first few stray ones. I have come to the conclusion that they are a part of my identity.

If popculture does indeed create scripts, (as explained by Dr. Strangelove), then the examples of Andy Warhol’s art and role in this area, Terry Richardson’s photography and Gossip Girl all contribute to mine. I must like these things for a reason and according points made in different lectures, I therefore must project these interests to the people around me whether or not I consciously know it.

I guess what I’m getting at is, we even display our identities when we don’t even realize it. Through a neat project (such as this) and social networking sites down to the way we dress and act in reality. Aspects of our identities come out everywhere, even where we least expect it to.

– Gillian Holloway

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And you are?

Culture creates scripts that tell us what to do not but does not provide a specific rule regarding the way we have to live that HAS to be followed.  It does not say “you will do these things”, but instead pulls things from different aspects around us and creates different traits that make each culture distinct. Culture provides choices, it forces us to choose how we want to represent ourselves.

This has changed over the years as pop culture has become more interrupted by the increase in amateur production.  Now, through youtube, facebook and other social networking websites, we are able to create our own identities regardless of what popculture is pulling from around us.  Technically, through these websites we are creating popculture more than it is being created for us.  Take these internet media moguls, for example:

  • Phil DeFranco: this guy is insignificant to most people’s daily lives. We do not know him personally, nor what his sense of humour is really like. Through his youtube channel, he has created a funny-guy persona in the sense that he makes these videos based on news in pop culture comparable to the Daily Show. In real life he could be a socially awkward man with poor hygiene and very few friends, but through his channel he comes off as the token funny-guy most people can relate to in their group of friends. Is this really who he is or is this an identity created solely for the purpose of maintaining an audience?
  • Perez Hilton: although mentioned in a previous post, Perez Hilton is a perfect example of someone who has constructed an identity through blogging on the internet. The man is realistically an overweight loser with too much time on his hands and an immature sense of humour. But time and time again we find ourselves turning to him to find out the latest gossip on the celebrities we love to hate, (or love with all our hearts). He has his favourites, and has a few people he is obviously not so fond of, and this is easy to see through his doodles on their pictures.  Before, this man was a cult treasure, only people who followed many celebrity blogs knew about him, but he has managed to create the fame he obviously lusted after from the get go, and is now photographed as a celebrity in the same fashion that he talks about pictures taken.

Perez Hilton pictured here with Audrina Patridge from MTV's The Hills.

  • Liam Kyle Sullivan: I saw this man perform when I saw Margaret Cho. He does the youtube videos online with his character Kelly as well as a few other ones. His most popular video is called “Shoes” and is a song sang by his character Kelly. He has created so many fictional identities through these youtube videos, that it is hard to even get an idea of who the star of these videos is in real life. I didn’t think that this sort of humour would translate well into a live performance, but he did each of them well by alternating between live performance as one character and then screening a video and coming out as another one.  He illustrates perfectly how even the most obscure of characters can be created over these websites.

How does this translate into real life? I personally have friends who do not act the way they act in person ovaveer these websites. Without the social barrier it is a lot easy to put on an act.  I have some friends who use fake names and who take aspects from the life they want to live or provide the illusion of living and come up with this completely new character of the internet.  The list of interests, favourite music, books, movies, quotes, etc. provides a vessel of constructing the identity someone would ideally have if they could; there are endless possibilities. In one of my next entries I will follow up on these points to prove how this is done more commonly than one might expect.

–          Gillian Holloway

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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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