Social Media, Self-Identity, & Privacy … Oh My!

C: Initially, my semester project was going to be about Snapchat and why is it that we are so obsessed in documenting what we are doing all the time.  I was also going to add the element of creating a digital self-identity to strangers and how that has an effect on the way we interact personally rather than digitally.

After, constantly studying and examining the phenomenon that we have created a dependence of our digital self-identity using social media platforms, I came up with the idea of making a project that proved that we are connected virtually but disconnected with the real world.

D: I have become very interested in the idea that as a society we are becoming more and more transparent.  In my research paper I talked about how we are becoming transparent through the policies of large corporations, organizations and acts placed by the government, and the digital profiles that we create of ourselves.

Caroline told me about her idea of bringing together people who were not friends in real life but had access to their social media profiles.  She wanted to show how people could grow to feel as if they really knew a person with out ever meeting them in real life.  I though that this related really well to my theory about how we are disclosing more and more personal information to complete strangers.

C & D:  We decided to create a collaboration of our two ideas.  We thought it would be a great experiment to invite people we didn’t know in for an “interview.”  One of us walked around campus and asked people if they were interested in being interviewed.  If they said yes, she would send the other their name and they would go onto Facebook and see how much they could find on them. We set up a place for these people to come sit and be filmed in the studio. We started by asking our volunteers how private of a person they felt they were, on a scale of 1 to 10.  Then we took turns telling each person some personal facts that we were able to find out about him or her through their public Facebook profiles. Their reactions were priceless.  Then we asked them again how private of a person they felt they were after hearing all that we knew about them.  Their answers were quite different from their initial ones.


Afterwards, we asked them about how they felt about Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, saying that privacy is no longer a social norm.  They all agreed with his statement but most felt uncomfortable with this idea.  We then asked how they thought this related to digital identity.  From their answers and our own experiences with this project, we concluded that our digital identity is directly related to how private or transparent we are.  We also think that we do have the ability to remain private beings because we control the information that we disclose on our social media accounts.  It is just a matter of whether we choose to be transparent or not.

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