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jeudi, décembre 22, 2011

 Facebook timeline and the curation of our selves

With the rollout of Facebook Timeline, we are going to curate our selves more than ever. I'm quite sure that the managing of our public selves - the tweets, the thoughts, the photographs, EVERYTHING - will hit new obsessive heights - not that it hasn't already hovered somewhere around the "self-stalker" territory already. You know the type - someone obsessively checking his/her status to see if they've been "liked" or "commented" on, or tagged in some photo or post or link or note somewhere.

The choice of what to portray as our "public" selves may prove to be a boon to people who value the integrity of keeping the public-private selves as closely related to each other as possible. However, it could also mean the annihilation of the breathing space we need in order to explore different facets of our personality as we grow into our own skins. For who doesn't need some privacy to try a new hobby that radically departs from one's own personality?

I'm someone who knows this more than most, since I seem to keep trying things which people find "out of character" or "not really your personality". Case in point: I went for tap dancing classes for about 6 months in 2004; it was something that I wanted to try, so I found a school in Anchor Point, paid for a couple of terms of lessons, borrowed some shoes, and danced.

Sometime later (just around the time that I had worked off my curiosity for the subject), Matt/Sam told me that they had been walking around AP after dinner and had peeked in on the dance class, only to be super surprised at seeing me in class. "Not really your personality leh," Matt had commented to me. I'm honestly not sure that I would have tried the class as earnestly had he made that comment to me just as I was starting out. I might not even had continued considering it had I been discouraged from the activity beforehand - after all, it's "not my style/personality."

The other thing which continues to astound people is that I like mucking around with household DIY (like grouting toilets and re-upholstering chairs), and I also like fooling around with sewing stuff. I can't imagine experimenting with all this if people impose their impressions of me - I'm no shrinking violet, but the peer (sheer?) pressure would be fairly strong.

With Facebook Timeline, we're going to obsessively curate our "public selves" that other people base their impressions of us on. People will read our FB Timeline, and impose/reinforce that idea of who we are back onto ourselves. The question for us then is - are we ready for the responsibility of defining who we are? And in any case, who are we to censor ourselves? Remember how Jim Carrey's John in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind pleaded for the "scientists" not to delete his memories of Kate Winslet's Clementine. "Not this one, let me keep this one," he begged. We are the sum total of all our parts, experiences, joys, tears and laughter - what will become of our "selves" once we start to purge "unnotable events" from our public Timeline?

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[Facebook timeline and the curation of our selves]
Sngs Alumni @ 22.12.11 { 0 comments }


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