The Evolution of Me

Goodbye Carr, hello Boyd. After Carr’s 257 pages of constant criticism on technology and the many negative effects it has not only on our social interaction, but on our actual brain connections, Boyd’s polar opposite mindset feels as if I can finally come up for air. I have never truly resonated so much with a book until now. Honestly, at times, I find her analysis of teens and their uses of technology to be creepingly accurate. It’s almost as if she has opened a window to my brain, and can see everything I think and feel. Boyd is finally the one adult that seems to understand the processes I go through everyday regarding what I post, who I post to, and even when to post.

In the first few chapters of her book, Boyd talks about identity expression and steganography. In her discussion of identity expression, Boyd explains how teens use social media as a way to find themselves and transition from childhood to adulthood. Because of the various networks the internet has to offer, many teens find themselves having to create different personas and identities on each site. Myself, included. When I first opened an account on Facebook, I used it as a way to connect with friends old and new.  Just as Boyd describes, I used to add my best friends as part of my “family” and constantly post on their walls just to say hello. Now, 9 years after creating a profile, my use of Facebook is limited to reposting Buzzfeed videos and checking the pages of the clubs I’m involved in. I don’t see Facebook as a means to follow the lives of my friends anymore, because a lot of people my age no longer use Facebook as vigorously as before. My current identity expression is most seen on my Instagram. There, I purposely plan what pictures I post and how they are presented, hoping to make an impression on people. To me, Instagram is sort of like my brand. It advertises my life, relationships, and hobbies. Anyone could get a clear sense of who I am and what I like to do, just by scrolling through my feed.

I specifically resonated with Boyd’s introduction to steganography in the digital age: subtweeting. We’ve all done it or have seen someone do it. And boy does it suck when you’re the person who is being subtweeted about. Or at least, you think the subtweet was about you…was it? I can’t tell you how many times I have read my friends’ subtweets and wondered whether they were talking about me. The crazy thing is, I will still wonder even when nothing has happened between me and that friend for a subtweet to be initiated. Any time that I have tried to subtweet, it always ends up back firing on me. If I am upset with someone and I subtweet them, I am always contacted by random people asking if I’m okay. Or worse, the person I subtweeted confronts me about it. This has happened so often, that I have stopped all subtweeting in general, afraid of someone reading my tweets and posts out of context. Boyd points out this very issue in Chapter 1. She talks about how all posts can be taken out of context, because the writer or “poster” doesn’t intend for their message to be read by everyone. They only have a distinct audience in mind.

As I continue to read her work, I am sure more of my own experiences will match many of the examples that she provides as evidence to her points. I look forward to reading more on her refreshing view of teens and technology. Her optimistic viewpoint certainly decreases the fear I once had about technology ruining our lives. (Thanks a lot, Carr)

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Author: Amanda DeFilippis

I am a Sophomore currently studying Communications at the University of Delaware.

7 thoughts on “The Evolution of Me”

  1. I do agree that this book is a refreshing read after The Shallows. Boyd seems to understand teens (which is rare for an adult it seems). The situation of people reading your posts that you did not intend or for them to be taken out of context by people who are not “in the know”, is all to real for everyone.

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  2. Amanda, I like boyd better than Carr too! And I’m intrigued by the idea of subtweeting. But I have to admit, even after reading you and boyd, and watching the video you link to (and you do cheat a little, I think the video is essential to the meaning), I’m still not sure I understand the concept. Which makes me think you might have a cool idea for the Concept in 60 video assignment the week aftern next . . . ~Joe

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  3. I liked that you drew the distinction between Carr and boyd immediately, because she does seem not only more willing to defend young people’s internet use, but also to understand it (Probably because she’s closer to our age). I also like that you connected the text to your own personal experiences, especially about the constant changing of what it popular on the internet and social media (like boyd said, Myspace had already gone out of style when she was writing). You brought up the fact that your own use of Facebook had changed, actually going down and not becoming a progressively worse, more obsessive habit (optimism!). Your video was also really funny and a great example of both stenography and how the lack of context can be a really bad thing for people posting and reading on the web.

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  4. The online world is full of turmoil, which includes subtweeting. I think the fact that we have to use a twitter is bogus (sorry prof), and needless to say I’m not a big fan of pervasive social media use. Much like you said, the constant, intertwined lives we lead can spurn a massive headache, leaving us delirious over who said what and if it applies to us. It’s crazy, but for the time being, who knows what the solution is. Make everyone quit Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat? Please.

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  5. I enjoyed that you aren’t afraid to say how you feel about Carr! I also am really enjoying this book and feel that it is so accurate to our lives today and when we first made our social media pages. Boyd isn’t as negative about technology but she does express areas of concern, but I like that she is able to make it relatable and help the reader understand how we can change this areas.

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  6. Great post, Amanda! I feel like your opinion of Carr is a very positive one… I agree that Boyd expresses her concern for our use of technology and our issue with privacy like we discussed in our group last class, and that she is able to make it relative to her audience.

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  7. You’re right, Boyd does have a positive perspective on teens and social media. However, she is not naive. She does touch on the concerns that come with social media use, but she does not exaggerate these concerns. She clearly states advice and suggestions for how to deal with these issues, specifically regarding parents and their constant worries about the web.

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