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As many of us have discovered by accident, there are no take-backs on the Internet. Once you upload or enter something on Facebook and YouTube it will always be there, even if you remove it. This is how Facebook and YouTube have become today’s generation of archives. They are keeping a record of our history.

This morning, millions of students were shown that they can’t actually rewrite history. Everything they do, all of the groups they join and interests they state or friends they make, it is all being recorded. Not only is it being recorded, it is being presented as content to other users of the Facebook.

Facebook and YouTube , like it or not, have brought us to realize a very real issue in online identity. Everything we do in public or semi-public spheres can be tracked and chronicled. We don’t see our digital footprints as much because systems haven’t cropped up to collect them, but collecting them is trivial. Facebook has simply put one of those systems in front of us but it isn’t hard to see the reality. As we grapple with this reality (that our privacy is only a construct of a system, and that our identity can be tracked and chronicled) how will students change their behaviour?

I don’t think students will change their behaviours. Facebook to most is similar to a game. Students don’t take Facebook seriously. They play on it like it was a game of “LIFE” or “Sim’s”. Students need to realize that what they post online can come back and haunt them. In the end everyone should being asking themselves this question: “Is this something I will regret posting when i’m older?” If you answer yes, then maybe it’s time to rethink what your uploading or putting online.

Preserve your identity.

-Lyara Brine

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

In one way or another, YouTube is much like Facebook. For a lot of people that wish to share their views, opinions and knowledge, its a home-based studio where they can unchain themselves from social norms (well most at least) and proceed to share their content with anyone in the world with acces to the internet. That’s the difference between Facebook and YouTube. In the journal “The Future of Children”, Patricia Greenfield notes that anyone can enjoy the content that YouTube has to offer without creating your own personal account. This allows for one to examine the content on the website and then make an educated decision about whether to become a member of YouTube.com or not. However for someone to be able to see absolutely anything on Facebook besides the “Welcome” page, one MUST decide whether they will want to create an online identity of themselves or not, right then and there; and if you decide that Facebook is for you, you have yet another decision to make, and that is: how honest are you goning to be in your depiction of yourself  in your profile, and also how you’re going to use the social networking tool.

In 2009, YouTube decided to add what is known as “Facebook Connect” to their website, which is pretty much a program that allows amateur content producers to publish and share the videos that they upload on YouTube, on Facebook. Asides from this function, it also provides users with the chance to automatically make it public on their Facebook profile, when they have “favoured” a certain video on YouTube. I actually believe this is pretty interesting! The meshing of the social networking giant and the amateur video content giant coming together for the benefit of young people and their developing online indentities can prove to be a great tool in showing everyone’s 600 “friends” what type of videos “defines them as a person” on YouTube. It’s unlikely that this is the main purpose behind the coming together of the two websites, but the fact that since the implementation of the program on streaming video websites like YouTube people have been watching 30% more videos and commenting on them 15% as much (www.allfacebook.com).

-Pablo Zysman

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

We all know that through social networking websites such as Facebook, we can create a virtual version of ourselves that we feel adequtely represents who we are as a person; well to a certain extent of course. The fact of the matter is that these websites have no restriction holding us back from perhaps twisting things around a little bit.

Sources like Facebook have become one of our generation’s favourite way of personal expression, it allows us and millions of other people to see our “new” selves in a third-person perspective; and its this new personna that we portray on our profiles that we see, and other people see, which leas us to compare this image of ourselves with that of what or own personal self image is. Changing the details about us on the profile might portray us differently, but do our actual selves change at all? The fact of the matter is that it seems, like sometimes some of us might believe that what other people see on Facebook is more important than reality. Therefore some individuals will go out of their way to even create another “more impressive” profile or a more “professional” profile. In the end, there seemes to be a point where we become the profile, or in some cases the altered profile become us.

Who knows how many dogs there are on facebook?...

 

-Pablo Zysman

In the case study called Social Networking: Communication Revolution or Evolution? Cheryl L. Coyles and Heather Vaughn’s created a survey that asked ” What are undergraduates’ reasons for using social networking sites(Facebook)”.   They surveyed 68 college undergraduates in the United States that were between the ages 18-22. The two questions they sent out in a survey were 1) How many social networking accounts do you have? and 2) On average, how many times a day do you log on to a social network site?

The results were not surprising, but in the end eight categories were created in order to determine why undergrads use Facebook. The total percentage is greater than 100% because the respondants listed mutliple reasons. 41% said they use Facebook “to keep in touch with friends”. 17% said they use Facebook because “ It’s fun and entertaining. 12% said they use Facebook to “post or look at photos” while another 12% said they use Facebook when “their bored”. 10% said they used Facebook “only in response to someone contatcing them on the site” while another 10% said they use it because ” everyone else is doing it”. 7% said they use Facebook because ” they don’t have any contact info. 3% use Facebook because ” you can send a meassge to multiple people”. Then there was another 19% of undergraduates who had a diferent response than above.

With these results, Facebook’s sole purpose is basically to maintain friendships that were created offline. Facebook helps people maintain these offline friendships online. Most students use Facebook on a daily basis and are always looking at their friends profiles. People are constantly maintaining their profiles so others are well aware of what they doing recently; this is how identity is playing a role. Facebook is all about self-expression and people always want to show a “good side” to their friends online. You will most likely only see a positive status update by one of your Facebook friends unless that person is striving for attention or a specific reaction. Even then, they are portraying themselves a way that THEY want you to see them. So tell me, why do you use Facebook?

-Lyara Brine

Well, it seems like its that time of year again, and we’re only finishing the month of January! Yes, Apple has intoduced yet another revolutionary gadget that is sure to make a tremendous impact in the world of technology, future innovations, possibly the economy, but above all people’s lives. Now the most advanced versions of it aren’t going to be available until April, but this past Wednesday, January 27th, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the Apple iPad to the world. Now I won’t go into much detail explaining the new gadget, but as you can see (in the picture at the bottom) it looks a lot like an iPod Touch; and that’s essentially what it is – an iPod Touch but on steroids. However as you might have noticed, I did not say that the iPad is much like the iPhone in the sence that it will not contain the cellular phone funciton and surprisingly will not have an integrated camara. Asides from that though, the iPad will have every funciton and applicaiton available to it that the iPod Touch and iPhone have, therefore making us just as obsessed with it as we are with the rest of our portable ICT’s today, if not more.

I understand that companies need to come up with new innovations evey now and then; but what’s the deal with Apple? Do they honestly never stop working? What is it that drives them to come up with a new product or a new and improved product at least once a year? I believe that Apple are now at a point in their business that they just have no choice but to keep feeding fuel to this “Analog culture” and further invest in the interests of the consumers who have embraced their products so much. Apple has had such a dynamic decade in every sence of their business, that it could be said that everyone that has indulged in Apple products have become or are close to becoming fanatics of the brand. People’s emotional investment in their products must have become so large that demand for their products must be so high, explaining the high price for a single share of stock ($192.06) and that engineers must feel high pressure to keep innovating, upgrading, and improving products every so often.

In addition to the addictive aspects of the iPod, iPhone and not the iPad, Apple has made it extremely simple to dive into the user generated world of YouTube. Literally, with the touch of one “button”, or should I say “tap of the screen”, one has been and will be always able to access  YouTube on the new iPad. On the other hand ICT’s such as BlackBery, who does every effort possible to compete with the iPhone don’t provide their users with this luxury, at least not so easily. This is certainly one of the facts that people remember when they think of the iPhone or compare the two devices. This great example of convergence cultures provides a great incentive for new Apple costumers.

It almost seems like Apple and its alliance withYouTube seem to be headed torward the same direction, but as Apple fanatics drive to stores to acquire the latest gadgets it could eventually beg the question if the freedoms that YouTube could become limited and the whole website as just another capitalist tool, that’ll ask you for a membership fee. Who knows…but what is known for sure is that Apple fans will be ecstatic come March!

-Pablo Zysman