Page 1

What is the future of youth representation? Do we create mediations/ representations of our own identity?


Young people’s identities are mediated


Danah Boyd • American • Alive • Studies online behaviour and identity – social networking – avatars


“If you’re not on MySpace, you do not exist”


Danah Boyd •

• • • •

Argues that online social networks provide young people with a space to find AND CREATE their own identity Young people are constructing their own COLLECTIVE identity Identity online is social Postmodern concepts of identity (actively constructing identity) A step forward/ beyond Henry Giroux’s idea of “youth as voiceless”. In Danah Boyd’s analysis, young people create their own voice


‘If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist.’ Social Networks, Media and Identity Extracts from ‘Why Youth <3 Social Network Sites’ by Danah Boyd

Key points • Social networks = A space for youths to explore and express identity • Identity is crafted/ constructed • Youth identity is expressed through consumerism and social relations • Participation in social networks = an active construction of your own identity


‘If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist.’ Social Networks, Media and Identity Extracts from ‘Why Youth <3 Social Network Sites’ by Danah Boyd •

“Online access provides a whole new social realm for youth”

“Teens often fabricate key identifying information like name, age and location to protect themselves. While parents’ groups often encourage this deception to protect teens from strangers, any teens actually engage in this practice to protect themselves from the watchful eye of parents.”

“teens are modeling identity through social network profiles so that they can write themselves into being.”

“In everyday interactions, the body serves as a critical site of identity performance. In conveying who we are to other people, we use our bodies to project information about ourselves. This is done through movement, clothes, speech, and facial expressions. What we put forward is our best effort at what we want to say about who we are.”

“MySpace should be recognized as my space, a space for teenagers to be teenagers”

“Identity can be seen as a social process that is fluid and contingent on the situation.”

“by allowing youths to hang out amongst their friends and classmates, social network sites are providing teens with a space to work out identity and status.”

“A MySpace profile can be seen as a form of digital body where individuals must write themselves into being. “

“In choosing Friends, teens write their community into being, which is precisely why this feature is so loved and despised.”

“Because Friends are displayed on the individual’s profile, they provide meaningful information about that person; in other words, “You are who you know.” For better or worse, people judge others based on their associations: group identities form around and are reinforced by the collective tastes and attitudes of those who identify with the group.”

“Many [young people] began participating in social networks because of the available social voyeurism and the opportunity to craft a personal representation in an increasingly popular online community.”

“‘If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist.’ – Skyler, 18, to her mother.”


Which of these are most relevant to Danah Boyd’s ideas? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Our online activities (avatars and social networks) see us defining our identities in a Maffesolian way Our online activities show how we take a pick’n’mix approach to our identity Our online activities reflect the individualisation of our identity: grand narratives of class, race, religion, gender are secondary to the individual identity. Our online activity reflects how audiences are increasingly active in constructing their own sense of identity Our online activities are an example of how we mediate our own identity. (In this sentence, ‘mediate’ means express/ construct identity through the media) Our online activities show how we construct media texts that express our own sense of identity Our changing online identities show that identity is fluid and everchanging Our online expressions of our identity show that new media technologies are empowering audiences to shape their own sense of identity. Our online identities/ social network profiles show that we express our identity through media texts, consumerism, and social collectivity (friends).

Danahboyd  
Advertisement