Concerning with the importance of self-presentation and role of internet technology as determinist of self-identity, it is found that the power of features that internet offers does not only influence the individual’s attitude but also change the way people perceive themselves to be presented in front of others. Social networking websites on internet has provided increased opportunity for individuals to interact with numbers of people but due to revolution of social networking and enhanced conscious perception about self-image, there is change in the concept of identity. It is found that the mechanism used on internet has changed the way individuals perceive their identity and therefore, it has led to numbers of issues related to identity including self-presentation, impression management and hyper-identity. This paper identifies the social networking as technologically determinist discourse and analyzes how social networking affects the concept of identity in terms of creating the relationship of technology with society.
Internet and Identity
It has been observed that the creation and maintenance of identity is the communicative procedure based on the consistent process of interpersonal comparisons and judgments (Castells, 2009). It further reflects the experiences of individual from past and certain cultural guidelines. However, according to Gurstein (2000), it is undeniable that the electronic communications, most specifically the internet has greatly attenuated the impact of individual’s experiences along with the maintenance of personal relationships regardless of time and space. Therefore, it is believed that the identities on the internet are considered as compliant with unlimited possibilities (Holt, 2004). The following section of the paper identifies some essential concepts of the internet and identity, which includes presentation of self, socialization on internet, managing impression, and hyper-identity.
Presentation of Self
It has been assumed that it is in the best interest of individuals to try to control the response of others to use and it can be commonly practiced by optimizing the impression of an individual given to others (Fry& Lewis, 2008). Furthermore, it has been observed that there are numbers of conflicts between the ways that users understand their identities on the internet and the expression encouraged by applications, which are commercially driven (Yus, 2011). Thus, the software shapes and privileges self-presentation in many ways sometimes encouraging the users to shape their identity expression along with commercially acceptable lines.
However, Joinson (2007) identified that the recent generation of social networking on internet is problematic in number of ways particularly in the types of self-presentation privileged in the applications. It can be said that the types of self-presentation strategies, which allow the applications to influence directly by the commercials purposes of the websites rather than the needs of user. Consequently, users deploy number of strategies to increase the utility of networks and avoid the commoditized assumptions (West& Turner, 2010).
However, the concept of region is the direct strategy for self-presentation, which can be defined by any place bounded to some level by certain barriers to perception. It can be said that the web page is highly bounded by the owner and creator of the web page using selectivity some aspects of the self are highlighted by the creator while eradicating others (Wallace, 2001). Moreover, the concept of region suggests that the self-presenters can use direct means to create impression by using five tactics of self-presentation, namely, ingratiation, intimidation, self-promotion, exemplification, and supplication. It can be noticed that the ingratiation tries to influence the particular individual by emphasizing the attractive personal qualities so that the individual tries to present certain aspects of him to target audience (Yus, 2011).
Socialization on Internet
The socialization refers to the long-term social experience by which individuals establish their potential and learn about their culture. However, it is the complex and multifaceted procedure and it is used in the internet as means of communication by the individuals (Strater& Richter, 2007). According to Visser and Mirable (2004), the socialization has increasingly become the most significant element on the internet because most users consider it as the vital source for maintaining their relationships with friends, and relatives. It has been observed that the internet provides considerable emotional support to the individuals using social networking and to facilitate the establishing of stronger ties with distant relatives and friends due to its convenience and flexibility (Visser& Mirable, 2004). Hire the best writing help
Furthermore, the social networking on the internet expresses social interactions with different people and it has been found that adolescents are demonstrating the active processes of socialization on internet (Joinson, 2007). The adolescents are in control of their internet environment and participate actively within such environment of virtual socialization. In other words, it can be said that the internet enables the individuals to use functions of multiple communication such as e-mail, blogs, chat, and construction of their own environments (Strater& Richter, 2007).
Impression management has been defined as the goal-directed process undertaken both consciously and unconsciously (Strater& Richter, 2007). The core purpose identified of the impression management is to influence the people’s perception about specific person, event or object and it can take place through managing the information in the social interaction. With the changes in offline and online self-presentation of individuals, distinct change has been observed in how individuals manage the impression (Visser& Mirable, 2004). However, impression management occurs in two different ways including impression that individual means to give to people and the impression that people take about individual.
With the increased change in self-presentation in the virtual world, impression management has become rather significant because different mechanism present on internet provides various sources to individuals for self-presentation such as social media and social networking has provided the individuals with grand opportunity to express them, but at the same time, it has made the impression management difficult for individuals. Apparently, social networking provides effective mechanism for creating and managing self-image and unique identity in the virtual world (Joinson, 2007). The growing interaction of individuals through online social networking has induced individuals to become conscious of their self-presentation while there is less awareness about how to manage such self-image in the huge virtual world.
It is found that different factors can influence the impression management specifically in virtual world because virtual world provides with immense opportunity for individuals to interact with people. Thus, social interaction creating different social situation that is the most essential factor of impression management persuades individuals to create whether imaginary or real self-image (Strater& Richter, 2007). In virtual world, this impression management is difficult because individuals are indulged in different activities such as through social networking; others watch each act of individual, this power of online interaction has created chaotic situation in term of troubles to have better impression management, in which individual can make the people think good of him.
According to Yus (2011), the revolutionary use of internet and increasing appearance of individuals has created the concept of hyper-identity. In this view, identity has taken different shape in the virtual world where individual possess more than one or multiple identities (Cavanagh, 2007). It is found that in the virtual world, individuals have to face different interactions with numbers of individuals at different situations and to deal with such interactions they use symbolic identity (Turkle, 1997). Such symbolic identities are not made up of physical identities, on the other hand, symbolic identities are the form of hyper-identity in which, identities are subject to particular objectives to achieve while to achieve the objectives, identities are changed and created to fit the situations (Dreyfus, 2001).
However, the forms of hyper-identity are considered as the additional features to solid physical identity as well as authentic protagonists, because online symbolic interactions are the source of identity shaping for the users who are apparently not gratified with their existing identities (Vacca, 2003). Individuals using multiple identities in the virtual world find a way to escape from the physical interactions and look for satisfactory identities, as to meet their needs in their real world (Yus, 2011). Besides, the functionality that has been found on different mechanism of internet such as social media and blogs are also one of the contributing factors in creating hyper-identity (Cavanagh, 2007). It is found that the theme of hyper-identity flows to the front in because it is connected with the functionality of internet as social network (Dreyfus, 2001). In this view, it is also found that physical identity has great influence on the virtual identity and that is the reason why this virtual identity is called hyper-identity because this identity is used for the symbolic interaction and it is combination of physical as well as situational identity (Turkle, 1997).
From the above discussion, it can be observed that the technologically determinism was evident in the context of the internet and identity due to the increasing use of social networking. It has been found that the identity has played vital role in social networking and enabled users to interact with distant and near relatives or friends (Joinson, 2007). Furthermore, the internet and identity has provided the users to create their identity on social networking web sites to conduct multiple tasks at a time and to manage their impression on their own according to their will. The social networking in the context of the internet and identity also provides the facility of hyper-identity to the users for reflecting the moods, thoughts, or challenges (Holt, 2004).