Construction of Identity – Personal and Public

In “Selling Your Self: Online Identity in the Age of a Commodified Internet”, by Alice Marwick, it tells of the ideology of the apparent identity crisis that is created by the internet. Although this article was written in 2004, it provides an accurate description of what one goes through when creating an identity on social media, and the internet in general. One of the main concerns in this article was of the distinguishes between identity and perception, on of which pertained to gender. Marwick, found that there was a clear distinction, in terms of perception, between how males and females provided their identity to the public, specifically online. Although it can be hard to distinguish one’s characteristics solely based on how they are perceived on the internet, Marwick stated that this is a positive as it allows an individual an outlet for escape into a virtual world of self-expression. This escape allows one to create an “authentic” identity, one that might not be possible in the real world. 

In “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship”, by Nicole Ellison, it takes us through the progressive stages of Social Network Sites (SNS’s). The article discusses that any connection we have with one another often varies, when concerned with our identity and perception, dependent upon our communication type. Meaning, that we will be perceived differently through social media, hand-written letter, or email, in terms of our comprised identity. In social media, we are found to have “enhanced” our profiles in hopes of “enhancing” our identity. Another valid point this article discusses is that a main contributor to the rise in popularity of SNS’s is the personalization that MySpace and many starter social media sites provided. Personalization become key when SNS’s attempted to apply to a mass demographic. Alongside personalization, a main concern for users was public versus privacy, which is what allowed Facebook to gain popularity. Facebook provided an “intimate, private community” for its users. From here the public versus privacy debate was left to the users choice and discretion as SNS’s gained popularity and became integrated in our society. 

In Chapter 1, “Written, Visual, & Quantitative SelfRepresentations” from the book Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, 
Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves, written by Jill Walker, it states that we use social media to view ourselves, often reviewing it as a reflection of ourselves. We like to use social media to track ourselves through archeology due to our curiosity we possess as humans. The chapter demonstrates these examples through those prevalent in history and often compares it to now-a-days. It continues by discussing that we “filter” certain aspects out of our “self-representation”, ultimately altering our image. This provides the public to perceived us in such a way that we allow to be perceived as. As a race, we have always desired to be seen as a well put together individual, but until recently, we have not had the technology and resources available to us. Now that we do, we are constantly evolving our identity to match how we want other, and how we often view ourselves, through the “convex mirrors”.

Social Identity in 1705, 1805, 1905, and 2005

!705- 1705 was a time that was still under rule of the dominant world power; England. Although the 1700’s were a big time for the start-up of America, it was not the main priority for societies and civilizations. One of the main priority for civilization, dependent from the geographical location, was for each member to fit into a certain specified role that was detailed by the Patriarchy ideology. Being an 18 year old during the 1705 would’ve resulted in marriage and mass-reproduction, being that was the designated role for a female during this time. I would have had minimum schooling but maximum education in all household related duties. In 1705, the options were limited for an 18 year old girl and would have been identified by my marital and family status.


1805- In 1805, the outcome would not have varied to extremity, in comparison to the 1700’s. However, it is possible, that if I lucked out with a well off and wealthy family, it would’ve resulted in some sort of finishing school education; if not, I would’ve been educated in household and agricultural matters. It is also possible, and entirely dependent upon my family’s status, that I would be living in America at this time. However, it is still uncertain, as America’s stability, as a country, was questionable. I most like would have identified as a house-wife.

1905- In 1905, as an 18 year old girl, I would be participating in a factory job or attempting to be married. Much in common with the other centuries, I would not have had time for a childhood as society would have urged me to mature at a rapid rate due to the trying times that each century, especially the 1900’s, provided for each member of a society. If, at this time, I was not in America, I would most likely be attempting to emigrate to the U.S. in search of a factory job. Once I established a job with enough money to help support my family, I would’ve began the search for a mate.


2005- Each century offers an 18 year old girl limited number of options that pertained to her future. However, a common pattern arises varying these centuries: the age of marriage, for a female, slowly increases to older ages. It wasn’t until the mid to early 1900’s, that girls were allowed to have a young adult life. In 2005, varying the most with change, an 18 year old girl would most likely be graduating from high school and on the track to college. I would be carrying a flip phone that received text message updates/ alerts straight from my Myspace account. Also, I would have been decked out in sequins. My social identity would not be concerned with the hardships that others would have faced in the previous centuries, but more revolved around social matters, such as friends, boyfriends, and the stone-ages of social media, making the 2000’s the largest social change to occur within 100 years.