Week 1 & 2: Introduction to WEB206

Ok, so I threw myself into this unit only to be drowned by the very out of date readings. However, I have set up a new blog called Sunday Photographer for this unit and am still deciding on my avatar. I think I’ve completed the bio for now. I have to submit links and reflections on both by the end of Week 2.

Readings:

Turkle, S. (1999). Looking Towards Cyberspace: Beyond Grounded Sociology. Contemporary Sociology, 28(6), 643-648.

Basically Turkle runs around yelling “Social Media is bad, you can’t trust anyone on Social Media”. However, when you realise how much has changed on the Internet since 1999, you just feel sorry for her and realise that since this article there will be a million that show how social media has given us connection and that avatars have cemented our identity online. In today’s Web, everything is personal with personal photos of the real you, and customisation and individuality. Sites like Facebook and Twitter that promote displaying your real self and giving people places to express themselves on camera, via Flickr and YouTube have changed how we use our avatars now and how they cement our digital footprints. Not that Turkle can predict any of this, of course.

Schau, H. J., & Gilly, M. (2003). We Are What We Post? Self-Presentation in Personal Web Space. The Journal of Consumer Research, 30(3), 385-404.

Schau’s 20 page article was, like Nowak’s, a complete dullard and I struggled to make it beyond the abstract. The abstract said they were writing about identity and personal webpages but again, this article is too old to be of use to me. I skimmed it. Have no idea what it really wanted to say.

Walker, J. (2005). Mirrors and Shadows: The Digital Aestheticisation of Oneself. Paper presented at the Digital Arts and Culture Conference. Available: https://bora.uib.no/handle/1956/1136

Jill Walker’s paper was written in an interesting way about how prevalent self portraiture is now we have digital cameras. She asks if it is the digitisation that has caused that or other factors. She mentions the Mirror Project (which is no longer at the web address she cites) created by Heather Champ which focused on our sense of identity and self-representation.

Miller, H. (1995). The Presentation of Self in Electronic Life: Goffman and the Internet. Paper presented at the Embodied Knowledge and Virtual Space Conference, London. Available:http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=4A9DFB0B833D4AB09F1BDE82B4578A31?doi=10.1.1.110.190&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Miller and Turkle should get married. That much is obvious. They both run around with their heads cut off, yelling out about how everybody on the net is untrustworthy and we don’t know who they are or what they really want. However, to give them both a bit of slack, it must be pointed out that the readings for WEB206 are extraordinarily out of date. Miller carries on about the Web isn’t really interactive because Personal Homepages on the web (homepages? homepages?) normally only allow a reader to interact via an email address listed on the page. See? Soooo out of date. So he devised a series of categories to ‘define’ homepages. They are:

  • Hi This is Me
  • This is Me at Work
  • This is our family page
  • This is a fan page
  • This is an advertisement for me:
    • To show I’m skillful
    • To list my CV
    • To show what services I can provide

Obviously this list is completely inadequate for today’s society and indeed completely irrelevant for anything I could learn about types of ‘homepages’ that exist today. Just off the top of my head I can think of information sites, blogs, how-to sites, movement and ethic sites, parody sites – none of which will fit into Miller’s nice little group of 5 classes. So that’s Miller. (And Turkle).


Nowak, K., & Rauh, C. (2005). The Influence of the Avatar on Online Perceptions of Anthropomorphism, Androgyny, Credibility, Homophily, and Attraction. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 11(1). Available: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol11/issue1/nowak.html

This 22 page snorefest had a couple of pieces of really useful information. Both men and women prefer looking at female avatars. The participants in their study were more male than female (only just) so therefore they also liked the torso being shown (in other words, BOOOOOOBS). They also liked the avatar best if it was a real person who looked like a gender (think, BOOOOOOBS). However they also liked images to be credible so just shrink those boobs down to something almost unoffensive like DD cup. And that was it. That’s all I gained from Miss Nowak.

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