Discuss Does Facebook Emphasize Mead’s 8220;me” or The 8220;i”

From our class discussions this past week on Cooley’s Looking Glass Self and Mead’s Me and I, we have begun to question how Facebook and other social media platforms (e.g., Twitter) transform our sense of selves and identities. How does the digital sphere shift the “rules” of online impression and identity management, and thus, shape the way we view ourselves?

This is a question being posed by other sociologists as well. Nathan Jurgenson (University of Maryland) recently asked his students the same: Does Facebook emphasize Mead’s “Me” or the “I”?

Given what we have discussed in class and the paraphrasing of Alexis Madrigal (Senior Editor for The Atlantic) from the Wikipedia entry for Mead’s “I” and “Me” below:

The me cares what people think while the I cares about what it alone thinks.


The “Me” is what is learned in interaction with others and (more generally) with the environment: other people’s attitudes, once internalized in the self, constitute the Me… By contrast, ‘the “I” is the response of the individual to the attitude of the community’. The “I” acts creatively, though within the context of the me.

I ask you to think, respond, and discuss with your peers some of the following questions:

As our lives increasingly become enmeshed in both the physical and digital (or, technological) worlds, how has this transformed our selves? Are our online and physical selves split or separate entities? Should we even view the digital and physical worlds as separate any longer? Why or why not?

When we share our lives in the third person (particularly when Facebook imposed that pesky “is” as part of your status update), are we emphasizing Mead’s “Me” or the “I”?

When we very secretly snap all those MySpace shots, hands held high above our head, precariously perched on our bathroom counters, are we emphasizing Mead’s “Me” or the “I”?

When we are required to respond to this discussion forum in an open, digital space and we know we are being evaluated for our contributions, are we engaging Mead’s “Me” or the “I”?

Are there consequences for contexting the world through the “Me” versus the “I” and vice versa?

Please post by 26 Oct, 9 PM.

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30 thoughts on “Discuss Does Facebook Emphasize Mead’s 8220;me” or The 8220;i”

  1. The digital world definitely reveals the “me” side of the self. In class we viewed various pictures of men from a dating website. Of course they chose the best picture of themselves that they could find, for they wanted to present themselves as attractive, interesting, single men; they were emphasizing the “me,” because they knew they would be judged by those viewing their profile. The exact same concept can be applied toward other social media outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. The pictures and statuses we post represent our most attractive and dynamic features. On Facebook, a person can appear attractive, interesting, and in control, when in real life, it is most likely the opposite—many people’s lives are out of control and often times they are not as attractive as they appear in their pictures. We are clearly representing the “me” when on Facebook and other sites out of concern of being judged by others.

    There are clearly consequences for living the world through “me.” Often people are representing a false version of themselves to the world. Also, studies have shown that people have high rates of envy/jealousy when looking at others’ Facebook profiles. These emotions may not otherwise exist in the physical world (if they did, it would be more “real” and genuine). I fear that people are becoming so consumed with social media, that are living their lives through electronic devices, and that they are always presenting their “me’s”; they cannot think for themselves. Even answering this question, I am forced to read over, edit, and censor myself, for I know that my peers will be reading my response. I even admit that I fall victim to presenting the “me” part of myself when using social media. I will try to escape this, but it is difficult in a society that so effortlessly judges others.

    • I agree with your comment and would like to add that our “I” is a shadow to our “me” due to our time period and technological advancements. Today we are able to carry sites like Facebook and myspace in our pockets through our phones. Allowing us to engage more deeply and for extended periods of time on our “me”. This makes it more difficult to disengage from social medias and easier to value our “me”. Other forms of media, specifically reality TV contests, affirm us into believing that it does matter what people think.

  2. The fact that we not only put pictures of ourselves online, but also that others can post about us, without our permission, has changed our modern day selves. Consider all the speeches we (or at least I) received when facebook was becoming big about how anything you put online can be used in the future. I think we have already seen how one digital photograph can change how the public views a celebrity or a political candidate. The example that instantly comes to mind is the horribly mean voice mail that Alec Baldwin left for his daughter. Within hours you could listen to it online or read the transcription. Without the internet, this would be nearly impossible. This changed how many people viewed him and instances like this are not rare.
    As we become increasingly aware that anything we do, even if it isn’t on the internet, is under a certain amount of surveillance and can eventually make its way to the interwebs, I think people are regulating more and more of what they do and how they act.
    Creating a facebook account is clearly emphasizing Mead’s “me,” as what you put on there is intended to be consumed by others. When you put something up for consumption there is always the consideration of how it will be received. But, since anyone can get on the internet, our audiences are becoming less segregated and thus our online and physical selves have to be more in sync. I cannot post repeatedly about being vegan and then go to the marketplace and have eggs for breakfast because there is a good chance my audience is in both places. Thus I have to regulate what I do outside of facebook and make sure that it matches with what I am saying there. In other words, I have to make sure the “me” I am showing is consistent, and this is merging the physical and the digital worlds.
    When we are required to post in this forum I am absolutely engaged in Mead’s “me.” As I write I am wondering if I sound dumb, if I am writing too much, what someone might respond to and this dictates what words I use and how I frame my thoughts. It doesn’t mean that I have different thoughts than what I am saying but rather that I am playing to my audience. Knowing that someone is going to read this changes how I chose to write it.
    There could be many consequences to this. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with panda in that "often people are representing a false version of themselves." Unless I am outright lying, which many people do, it is really false? It is still part of me and it is perhaps even the me I wish I could be and therefore part of my identity. If "Clueless" is my favorite movie but on my facebook I say that "Crash" is because I did like it and I think it sounds better, is that a lie? My thought process considered what movies I like, then what movies sound good, and came up with something that fit both. Even if it wasn't my absolute favorite, is it truly a false version of myself? Am I lying to the world around me? Or am I simply picking the pieces of myself that I like the most and showcasing them? And what about the consequences that not presenting the "me" might have on one's own self-esteem?

    • I think you bring up some great examples as to why the Me is a reflection of the I, but I wonder if you see them as so connected that they become the same thing? It seems as though in a world that is becoming more and more influenced by the internet, our I, or our own opinion of ourselves, is just as strongly influenced by the Me as it is the other way around. We are so bombard all day long with images and text that is usually showing a person’s best attempt at a perfect Me. Therefore our standards for what a Me should be rise, and in turn our level of commitment to the perfect I rises as well because the likelihood that our I might be captured is also rising. Because of this, my interpretation is that the more social media outlets, and the more technology based interaction their is (which makes access to the I easier) the more closely related the I and the Me become.

  3. I completely agree with Panda and Peacock. Through social media we are always considering the "me" aspect of ourselves. I know that when I post statuses and pictures on Facebook, and when I send tweets out into the world, I am outputting information that I think my peers will think is interesting, fun and attractive. I want to glamourize my life, even though it isn't super glamourous.

    Panda's comment about the dating website reminded me of a movie I saw called Catfish.
    Here is the link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuE98oeL-e0&fe

    For those of you who haven't seen it, it is a documentary about a man named Nev who starts an online relationship with a woman named Megan. At the beginning of their "relationship" he has only based his perception of her off of pictures, comments and biographies that she has posted on her Facebook. He believes that Megan is a young dancer with a "hot bod" and artistic interests. However, as their relationship progresses he and his friends begin to second guess the validity of the persona that Megan has been portraying. (Spoiler Alert!) Nev and his friends decide to go surprise her with a visit, and find that Megan is actually a married woman in her mid 40's who is physically unfit and not artistic at all.

    As Goffman would define it, Megan was putting on a "cynical" performance. And in Mead's terms she was putting forth her ideal "me." There was an obvious consequence to her living the world through "me." Not only was she caught and embarrassed for exaggerating who she was, but it was obvious that she lead an unhappy life always trying to put forth a "me" that she believed was better than who she truly was. Life through "me" does not lead to happiness.

  4. Facebook is definitely all about the me!! I agree as well with the previous statements above. EVERY SINGLE THING that someone does on facebook; whether it is a status update, posting a new profile picture or album, or updating profile information is all (usually, or at least I know I do this) carefully thought out beforehand on how others might perceive the information or respond to it. What is the purpose of updating a status or location other than trying to elicit a certain response from one's peers? If you had a really bad day, why in the world would it be neccessary to post an emo video or post a status about how life sucks? It is because you would hope that at least one of your friends out there might reach out and feel sorry for you, providing you with attention firstly (which is what posting is all about) and probably making you feel better as well. Another huge reason why facebook and the digital world is all about the 'me' is the fact that users all try to post the things that THEY think will make others perceive them in a certain way.
    Lastly, I posted a video that addresses Meade's "me" and "I" for digital show and tell about a week ago; everyone should check it out!

    • I thought you were right about the fact that “profile information is all carefully thought out beforehand on how others might perceive the information or respond to it” but I think that our I is what influences our interpretations of what the me should be more than we realize. I might think that any pictures of people where they are making a peace sign are ridiculous, and you might think they make you look fun and happy. I think that these opinions can be completely opposite because we have different I’s, not Me’s. Everyone, especially when looking at a network like Oxy, is seeing similar images and getting similar feedback from people, so the only explanation as to why we would have opposing views on something that is performed by the Me is because we have different Is, and those I’s influence our Me.

      • I agree that in some regards that Facebook does emphasize Mead’s ‘I’ rather than the ‘Me.’ After all, it has been argued that all action are social in nature. Facebook is a SOCIAL network, which suggests that all actions on Facebook are performances. I do believe that what we post on Facebook is a part of a performance that represents the I. When we represent ourselves differently than we truly are, there are often consequences. Our perception of the ‘I’ can become more negative. We may begin to revere the “I’, wishing we really looked as we do in our profile pictures, and lose confidence in the “Me.” Thus, our true selves may be diminished.
        However, I also think that Facebook holds us accountable to the “I” in some regards. We cannot portray ourselves totally different than we are, because our peers already know what we actually look like, etc. We cannot post that we just went on a hot date, as our friends know that we were truly sitting at home watching tv. Furthermore, as others have brought up, other people can post about us, which is something that we cannot control. We can untag unflattering pictures, but they still exist. If what we post and what others post of us are too incongruant, it is obvious to others that we are not representing who we really are, therefore we must at least represent the “I” to some extent.

  5. I think that the 3 of you are all right, but I wanted to pose a few points that play devil's advocate. I think that to an extent, we can all "play up" our Facebook profiles in order to make ourselves look like the best versions of ourselves that we think exist- if that means taking pictures from above our heads, using photo-shop to slim down those waist-lines or what have you. I think we are held accountable by other people, though to keep our profiles so that they do reflect this "me" image, but so that it does not stray to far from the "I". For example, people have the ability to post pictures of you onto their profiles, not always with your permission. You can ask them to take them down, but they don't always have to- especially if they are in the picture as well. There have been countless times when friends of mine have posted pictures that I thought made me look different than I thought I should be presenting myself- aka my "me" on Facebook, but they didn't take them down, so I had to deal with this new "me". Facebook has also come out with new features where people can ask you to confirm that you work together, go to school together, ect. so that if you are lying about these details that make up who you are (that is not to say that your work and school make up your identity) but we are held accountable by others to not post false information. I think we are all willing to give each other a little wiggle room on Facebook, but if you stretch the truth too much- like saying you work at Hooters, when really you are an exotic dancer- then people will call you out on it. So, I would say that the "me" is what we strive for- others often distort your "me" which can sometimes even revert you back to your "I".

    • I agree with what everyone has said thus far. I think the part for me that is most important is that people who use facebook, such as myself, always want to make sure what they are posting is putting the best out there. I cannot think of a time where I wrote something that didn’t sound right and I just left it there. In this situation I, and others i know, would have deleted the post and re added it.
      I think that it is an interesting point to bring up about people getting tagged in unwanted pictures and not having that control. i would say that generally people don’t stay tagged in pictures of themselves that they don’t like, often untagging themselves or making the other person. While it does represent the “i” if the pictures is seen on facebook i don’t think maybe people even worry about that.

    • Though I agree that we are obviously presenting the best version of ourselves online because it is so public and permanent, I also think it is interesting to look at it from the side of devil’s advocate. Even though we may be presenting a calculated side of ourselves, is it wrong to say that that is indeed who we are? Just as ladycakes5 was saying, I think there are still things we cannot control about our ‘me’ that continue to be posted online. I do think that we have a lot more authority now about the information that is published about us, since it is usually our doing, but there are some circumstances where we still may be prone to the embarrassment of an unflattering, natural picture that may be more representative of our ‘I’. I also know of many people who have both a mix of nice, pretty pictures along with some crazy, spastic ones, showing that they may not necessarily care if they look a little off at some points.
      Along with that, couldn’t all the things we are allowed to ‘like’ and add as interests/activities/favorite things just be another way to express ourselves? Yes, obviously some people are going to add interests based on how other people view them, but I think it is unfair to say that every person’s profile is based on the opinions of others. Can I ‘like’ anything truly and add it because I want to and not because I care about other people’s view of that thing? I think that there is more of a mesh of the ‘me’ and the ‘I’ on Facebook than we give it credit for, however I do agree that so much of the time profile are definitely contrived in a way that we want to be seen, I just don’t think that that is such a terrible thing if that’s actually who we want to be.

  6. I also agree that Facebook is emphasizing the “me” vs. the “I,” which, as explained above, results in the representation of the “best” image of oneself. Facebook has essentially become the “digital” version of the looking glass self. When looking at Facebook, you become fixated on how others see you rather than how you view yourself. You may not post important information about yourself (ex. your favorite hobbies) because what other people think takes precedence over having your “own” identity, which can result in self-objectification. It seems that people’s identities and opinions of each other are increasingly being formed through Facebook rather than face-to-face interaction, which, in my opinion, is the main problem. Like the media, it presents an image that may be not be entirely genuine – your digital self could be very different than your physical self. We are forming opinions about people through the digital world and applying them to the physical world, thus merging the two.

    Above, peacock raises this question: “And what about the consequences that not presenting the “me” might have on one’s own self-esteem?” We present the “me” because of our concern with eliciting and receiving unfavorable responses. Facebook is seemingly discouraging you from presenting the “I.” For example, we have heard numerous stories in the news about the effects of cyber-bullying on homosexual teenagers. On Facebook, many do not want to post their sexual orientation because they are afraid of being bullied. And as we have seen, many who have posted it – representing the “I” – have been subjected to relentless harassment by others. Facebook is indirectly promoting the idea that if you do express your “true” self without thinking of others’ reactions (the “I”), there could be negative consequences. Princssr says that life through the “me” does not lead to happiness, but, if you think about it, does life through the “I” lead to happiness? As exemplified above, posting through the “I” on Facebook could provoke unfavorable responses and lead to low self-esteem. If people are being discouraged from presenting the “I” digitally, how can they feel comfortable presenting it physically? We are forgetting that the people who actually matter, those who know you best, do not care whether your Facebook expresses the “me” or the “I” because they know your physical self – they’ve formed an opinion not through your appearance and actions on Facebook, but by face-to-face interaction and shared experiences.

  7. There seems to be a general consensus where I also agree that facebook does portray a person’s “me” as Mead calls it. Even though people try to convey their “I” selves through independent claims and statetements on a news feed that appear off the main stream current, the sole fact that a person has a facebook is representative of “me.” The pressure into creating a facebook account originates from wanting to be perceived as normal and up to date. Regardless of how autonomous one’s comment is, they’re still buying into the facebook fad. In my mind this brings up Theodore Adorno’s views on the culture industry and Marcuse’s ideas of repressive tolerance. We at times, like to think we are expressing our “I” but in reality we are buying into greater powers that have complete control over us. Media powers and corporations are dictating what mainstream society wants. By feeling pressured into getting a facebook, we are supporting Adorno and Marcuse’s ideas since the “me” doesn’t want to feel left out; therefore, he or she caves in to the overwhelming feeling of conformity.

  8. I concur, Facebook is definitely a reflection of the “Me”. People would not put their lives on blast or frequently update their statuses if they were not concerned with what other people thought of them. Nowadays a picture is not worth a thousand words, it is worth a million comments! People no longer look at pictures and keep their good/bad comments to themselves as they look through albums (unless of course they want to be considered stalkers). Instead they feel obligated to leave either a really detailed confident booster comment or a simple “cool pic” comment to keep a social connection with that person or to have something to do. I do not think people randomly choose their profile pictures without first looking through their options as they imagine people’s responses to each and every one of them (let’s be realistic we all do it). Many people think that their statuses and their profile pictures reflect their individuality, their “I” but is really their “Me” speaking and is serving as a reflection of what that person perceives himself to be through the eyes of his X number of friends. Even people who seem to not have filters and post TOO much information on their comments or statuses spend a ridiculous amount of time fabricating them with the only intention of generating a response.

    The digital world and the physical world are rapidly merging. Having applications that allow your friends to check you into places while been in a specific place is a good example of this. Another example of the integration of both worlds goes back to the idea of taking “hot” profile pictures. Many people live under the impression that certain people’s perception of them is based entirely on their opinions of the former’s Facebook page and often find themselves pretending to be someone they are not to continue to appear “cool”. The more our society continues to expose every step or breath we take through the social media, the more the physical worlds are going to merge. I personally find it absolutely terrifying to imagine both worlds becoming completely indistinguishable in the future.
    Here is an article published by CNN on the 12 most annoying types of Facebook user. It’s pretty old but for those of you who have not read it enjoy!!! http://articles.cnn.com/2009-08-20/tech/annoying.facebook.updaters_1_facebook-users-friend-online-social-networks?_s=PM:TECH

  9. Along with everyone else, I agree that facebook and other social media represent Mead’s concept of the “me.” In our generation, social media sites have become an arena for broadcasting your individuality and networking with people far beyond the boundaries of typical social interaction. For example, facebook and twitter have allowed for hundreds to thousands of “friends” to know your every thought and whereabout, which has broadened the scope of knowledge about acquaintances to an extraordinary level. The fascinating thing about these websites is that you control everything that the public can see and know about you with the help of posting specific pictures, writing statuses that you think best describe you, and being able to delete or hide anything that you do not like. The editing aspect of these sites emphasizes the principle of the “me” because it is how you want to represent yourself based on the frame of society’s perceptions. The reward for portraying yourself within the socially constructed limelight of the “me” lies in the notion of popularity on a digital level, which is often followed into the realm of real social interactions.

    An example of individuals utilizing social media to control for social perceptions is the planned scandal of a celebrity, which is then made famous through celebrity following blogs and other social media sites. As America loves to follow celebrities, the public becomes consumed with knowing every detail of their lives. Therefore, planned scandals are a way that celebrities can remain exciting and keep themselves in the public eye. This follows the notion that any publicity is good publicity, which is a social construct and way for said celebrities to maintain their status. Usually these scandals are well orchestrated to cause just enough controversy to draw people in, but not offend too many. Lady Gaga is an example of a celebrity who thrives off of small scandals and has benefited greatly, using social perceptions of the rock star to push the envelop enough to become known as one of the most influential people of our time (like it or not). Therefore, through her usage of scandalous videos and fashion, she has inspired many people to talk about her on their blogs and websites, making her exceedingly more famous than celebrities of the pre-digital times. Altogether, through using Mead’s notion of the “me,” celebrities and adolescents alike are able to create the “perfect” image of themselves to display for all of the world.

  10. First, I’d like to say that it seems pretty evident that every thinks Facebook primarily presents the “me” side of a person. However, I think that ladycakes5 brings up the important point that pictures of you posted by others without permission have a tendency to portray the “I” side of you. Since we often untag or protest a friend posting a picture that may be closer to the truth, it is quite clear that we try to be someone online who we really bear no resemblance to.

    Concerning the point about posting interests on our profile that we think others will approve of, I definitely agree. We list interest that other people will presumably recognize and relate to. For instance, I do not list Blue Mountain State as one of my favorite TV shows because it is relatively obscure and could lead people to associate me with the crazy party life of a state-school football player, which I most definitely am not.

    If any of you watch the new series Up All Night there is a scene in which the two main characters, Chris and Regan, have an argument about what types of things Chris “likes” on Facebook. Regan is clearly teaching Chris that although he may like a variety of things in real life, he must limit the type and number of his interests on Facebook to give a favorable impression to his “friends” (I put friends in quotations because we all know that we are not actually friends, as it should be defined, with most of our Facebook friends). In the scene, Regan blatantly shows that she does not want to be associated with someone who tries to display the “I” side of their personality online.

    Lastly, I would like to comment on the profile picture issue. For those people on Facebook that you know really well, you can definitely tell if they used Photoshop or some other application to distort their image. This is a problem because it leads you to wonder why that person feels the need to doctor their image in certain ways. I think it reveals the insecurity that we feel about our appearance, which of course is related to the Looking Glass Self. I find it deeply troubling that the universality of the internet has led so many people to become insecure about the “me” they portray online.

  11. While I agree that facebook definitely represents our “me,” I agree that it is impacted by our “I.” If the “I” is our acting agent, then for anything to happen on facebook, our “I” must be a part of it. We are the ones who choose to post, comment, tag or untag actions that then become a part of our “me.” As we talked about in class, however, I agree that the existence of sites like facebook have forced us to self-regulate. We never know when a photo that will end up online will be taken, thus we attempt to act in ways in coherence with our online performances.

    In certain ways, however, I find this discussion a little outdated. As we learn from Goffman, “an honest, sincere, serious performance is less firmly connected with the solid world than one might first assume” (Goffman, 71), thus making the question of authenticity within the digital realm a sort of moot point. Although he refers to a specific physically bounded region, the age of technology we live in forces us to translate this notion to the digital world. He talks at great length about “cues” like facial or body expressions that both support and dilute the intended message of our performances. In the “facebook” generation, these cues come from the interaction with your “friends” on facebook. What you choose to comment on their wall or photos is determined by your “me” but is also responded to in ways that cannot be anticipated. We can hope, as Revan points out, that our digital audiences will react in positive ways to these actions, but we cannot be certain. Thus, we enter into a never-ending cycle of reactivity with the performing team and audience forever switching places.

    Consequently, the argument of the “me” and the “I” seems tireless in this digital age. I tamper with the idea that in our modern world the two cannot exist individually and as a result, have morphed into one in the same. We post on facebook in a way that we hope makes us look cool, or artsy, or preppy, or emo, but from there, it grows out of our control. The content we put forth is then invited to take a life of its own, sparking reactions from the great World Wide Web. The “I” then directs the way we handle these reactions and move forward. However, this “I” has been influenced by the prior actions of the “me,” making it impossible to separate the two. In conclusion, Mead’s question has become a sort of chicken/egg debacle in the age of technology. Our facebook and online posts are products of the “I” because we are so innately aware of the “me.”

  12. If the I and the me create the self as Mead proposes, Facebook is a dangerous tool for diminishing self-perception. In connection with Cooley’s Looking Glass Self theory, the me is concerned with the image through the looking glass, an image constructed from the view of others and thus objectified, whereas the I is concerned with its sole thoughts and feelings as a subject. As long as people are distracted with the me, favorable or unfavorable evaluations from others determine the enhancement or diminishment of their self-concept. Facebook acts as a type of breeding ground for evaluations of the me from others, and thus people focus on perfecting their me on Facebook in the hopes of enhancing their self-concept through the receiving of “likes”, positive comments, and a large number of friends.

    As of now it seems that the online world and the physical world remain separate because of how people operate in each realm. The physical world is a more accommodating place for the I because more action takes place there. When in your room, you are not constantly looking at yourself in the mirror – you are doing your homework, eating meals, sleeping, and cleaning. In doing these activities, you are taking action and exercising the I without being distracted by the me. However, when looking in the mirror, or interacting on a place like Facebook, the focus is less on action and more on perception, specifically the perception of others. Even when Facebook imposed the “is”, status updates in the third person point of view limited the presence of the I and emphasized the concept of me, which favors other people’s point of view.

    Facebook is essentially a mirror of your identity that allows you to control your identity for others to perceive. Sometimes the opposite effect of what you hoped for can come about from the attempt to control your identity, such as the “myspace pic” and the negative stigma attached to it, but as is the nature of a mirror, you never really see yourself truly because it is an inverted image of your body. This inverted image represents the distortional identities we see on Facebook – people present their me using pictures, likes, “favorites”, and “interests”, but these limiting symbols never reveal the true nature of the I. Facebook is not only a space for communicating to people, it is a medium for communicating the self to people…communicating the me.

  13. So there is undoubtedly a general consensus here that individuals’ use of Facebook reflects Mead’s concept of the “me”. Although I completely agree that the “me” coincides with Facebook use in that we portray a certain identity to the social world based on various contexts and the perceived reaction other people will have, I also want to take a slightly different approach and suggest that Mead’s “I” can be evident on Facebook as well.

    The “I”, or our core identity, independent of societal structures, can be represented on social media websites by the way we continuously act. Because of our society’s constant exposure to websites like Facebook in the recent technological age, I believe people have become more adept at recognizing individuals’ patterns of online behavior, which in turn can lead to an unintentional representation of someone’s true identity.

    This is a confusing concept, but it relates to the previous link posted by emerald518 about specific types of Facebook users. For example, if a girl is always using profile pictures with certain types of lighting and angles to get a “beautiful”, “perfect” shot, it could actually represent a serious insecurity about her self image. Or maybe a guy is always sharing video links that have a lot of blood and violence in them and is continuously posting statuses about all the “cool” things he is constantly doing. This could very well signify that his true identity is searching for approval from his peers, showing he is not confident in the real type of person he is. In other words, what an individual is posting or presenting, can actually unveil a much different, truer representation of who they really are. I’m saying that the attempt of the “me” to adjust to societal expectations/norms can actually underly the true “I” self.

    I realize this idea may be a stretch, but one thing is very apparent to me no matter what the representation appears as. The more our society engages in social media websites, constantly relying on technological interactions for our day-to-day lives, the more blurry the line between a person’s real identity and their performed identity will become. I think it is an exciting, but ultimately very scary time for our society due to our unquestionable commitment towards a digital future.

    • I agree with several points you are making in your post. I think that each person is unique in reality and also digitally and we certainly do attribute labels to peoples online behaviors. There are always the few people who post really depressing lyrics or lyrics having to do with a break up or something and it makes me cringe.
      However, wouldn’t these patterns be just an extension of a persons online digital self and not a part of their real “I”?
      I agree in a lot of ways that there are many instances of “I” in social media but I certainly think it has to do with the person. Many people use these social media sites for different reasons. Some use it to update every meal they have and every person they see while others use it to reconnect with old friends or to share photos with their family. Due to the different nature of uses of these sites, I find it difficult to generalize about the “me” and “i” on these sites. That being said, you are heavily influenced by your environment and how you were raised by how you lead your life online. There is certainly a strong connection with your digital self and your real self whether it seems like it or not. If you are very quiet in real life but like to discuss things virtually, it still says a lot about you as a real person in terms of your shyness and maybe not being very confident. So as we talk about these two different identities we have, its still important to realize that they are an extension of your true self.

  14. I really like the definition above from Wikipedia for Mead’s “I” and “Me,” they really help to clarify exactly what distinguishes the two terms. Similar to what others have stated I think that it is obvious that facebook and other social media sites emphasize the “me” for most people, most of the time. If you solely looking at the process of putting photos on facebook, from choosing what to make your profile picture to what photos we choose to be tagged in, it is obvious that most people are choosing based on what they think others will think of them based on photos. For example if you have a picture of a hilarious situation that shows you and your friends laughing and enjoying themselves and sharing a really good memory, but it makes you look strange, or ugly, or fat or unattractive most people would choose not to tag themselves in it or make it their profile picture. This shows that the portrayal of the “me” is obvious in that we chooses photos based on what we believe others will think about them, not based on how the photo makes us feel.

    Status updates work the same as photos on facebook. People make statuses that make people laugh or make them seem interesting, cultural, exciting or really happy. People pick and choose which events they go to and things they feel to put on facebook based on how those feelings or places will reflect on them, thus portraying the “me.” The consequences for depicting the “me” as opposed to the “I” are numerous, but most importantly worrying more about what others will think of you as opposed to how you view yourself creates separate identities so that you are no longer you online. This separation of identities and false portrayal of yourself is essentially a lie and makes you unable to connect with and reflect on your true self. Ironically in posting to this discussion most of us will be sure to be careful about what we say in that we worry how others will perceive us based on our comments and opinion, just like our facebook photos and status updates.

  15. I’m definitely in agreement that Facebook and other social media websites are predominantly about the me. Of course people are going to want to portray themselves in the best possible light since other people’s perceptions do play a large role in how we look at ourselves. Therefore, one is going to take the opportunity that Facebook provides to show their best selves. Whether this means posting glamorous pictures or exciting statuses, they are meant to attract attention. In the end, Facebook allows people to transform themselves into the person that they want to be and want others to see them as.

  16. In society today, our social lives have become as public to all of our “friends” as we want them to be through the digital world of facebook. We now have a medium to post all of the pictures that we want, share with the digital world our every thought and action, and portray ourselves in any form that we choose. This has transformed our selves because we are aiming to portray ourselves in the most attractive and appealing way possible. We are concerned with how we look to those viewing us, on both a physical and intellectual level, and we therefore use facebook as a way to control our identity and outward appearance to the best of our ability. The physical and digital world are completely separate entities. In the physical world, our peers see our every day actions, hear how we talk, and see our physical appearance in more than just a snapshot. While we are still concerned with our outward appearance in the physical world, we do not possess the same level of control as we do in the digital world.
    Facebook allows us to emphasize Mead’s “Me” because whether we want admit to it or not, we are concerned with how others view us, and that affects our actions. Our ability to update our status, and check in to certain locations is all about letting other people know what we are doing- yet we use it to look cool or improve our social status. People who are checking in to locations are usually doing so when they are proud of where they are and want others to react positively to it. Another example of this concept is the myspace shots people take, attempting to look as attractive as possible, even though they are often very silly looking and are completely posed. It is not an accurate portrayal of our true selves, it is a posed performance for others. Living through the “me” takes away from our individuality and limits our ability to be genuine. We are lying to ourselves and to others when we are constantly trying to look and act a certain way. Facebook and myspace fuel this false portrayal, but it is seen in the real world as well. Even those of us who just use facebook to talk to friends and catch up with people, and don’t feel extremely concerned with what others think, we still have some form of the “me” occurring. It is practically inevitable. To some extent, everyone cares how they are being portrayed by those around them.

  17. Sharing ourselves in the third person with facebook’s use of “is” is definitely emphasizing the “me”. In fact, it forces us to become “me” because we are forced to make a statement through the eyes of others. Seeing the “is” causes us to take a step outside of ourselves and places us in the category of any other spectator or reader.
    Posting in this discussion board is more of an emphasis on the “I”. My primary reasoning is that our identities are disguised, and therefore we are more open to reveal truthful thoughts, without so much filtering that would occur if we knew that our audience was aware of our identities. Though our instructor knows who we are in posting, there is still more freedom to comment as the “I” because as a student, personally, I feel a level of comfort with my professor that enables me to share opinions or thoughts, without fear of judgement or condemnation. I feel that the relationship between student and professor is meant to foster such an environment.

    By putting the world in the context of “I” versus “Me”, as individuals, we are forced to be aware that we do not have only one true self. Common self-esteem phrases like “Just Be Yourself” are heavily shared, but in reality I do not think that a person can always just be their self because the self differs according to context. If a person thinks that they are completely transparent and behave the same at at times in every situation, this contextualizing of I and me confronts that person and causes them to realize that there is an inevitable distinction. So, a major consequence is that an individual cannot see them self as having one true self.

  18. I also believe Facebook is a representation of the “Me” because on the internet we can be whomever we want. In other words an individual has the freedom to modify his/her own identity or even create a whole new identity if he/she is not pleased with his/her own. During childhood we are encouraged to be social and make as many friends as we can. Nobody wants to be the outcast working by themselves in the corner of the classroom or the student in the cafeteria that eats by themselves, right? Obviously people want to be liked and the attention one receives from others is crucial in building their character and personality. Social media platforms such as Facebook make it possible to obtain attention by posting status’ or photos that describe what he/she is doing, their location, new purchases, etc. We do this for two reasons: show off to people what he/she has that others’ do not and secondly simply for attention. Since we are socialized to crave attention we care what others think. So when we are posting status’ in the third person we are just waiting for peoples reactions and responses. As a “me” the person is aware of himself as an object. He responds to himself in terms of the attitudes others have toward him. For example the more attention we get on Facebook the more we will use it and post new things up. We rarely post status’ and photos to truly express ourselves. Instead deep down inside we are hoping to get more comments and “likes” than our peers because it is a competition to perform the best.

  19. I think that as technology is rapidly developing and advancing, our digital and private lives are getting closer into becoming one single entity. For most of the time, we are constantly plugged in in all spheres whether it be public, private, social or the like. More and more websites and web services are being turned into applications for our cellphones, making it hard to resist technology. We are also judged and labelled by the electronic devices we own. For instance, an iPhone user is seen as fun and trendy while a Blackberry user is seen as more business-minded and practical. These technological advancements have come to be the benchmark for modernity.

    I agree with what everyone else has stated thus far, that Facebook does indeed emphasize Mead’s “me”. Facebook’s selling point is that it is a free service that promotes social networking whether it be reconnecting with old friends, colleagues or family members. Since you are putting yourself out there in cyberspace, it is essential that you sell yourself if you want to build your social network by making yourself desirable. This entails dramatizing your life by posting pictures, status updates and videos among others that may make you seem more interesting than you really are. For a lot of people, I think that they use their online identity (in this case their Facebook profile) as a form of escapism. They may create an alter ego for themselves because they have that belief that you can be anyone who you want to be online and not have to face the consequences in real life. The “me” aspect of Facebook is what drives you to seek approval from others in the form of likes, comments, and tags,which play into the superficial need to become popular and have your existence recognized by Facebook friends (a lot of which are mere acquaintances) . In turn, you are expected to reciprocate and give approval to others.There seems to be a competitive aspect to Facebook as well. We are always competing to see who can garner the most status likes, photo comments and friends. In order to do these though, you must invest a lot of time to your Facebook account, time that could very well be spent doing other things that are more productive.

    In addition, although Facebook markets itself as a free product, there is a huge price to pay as a user. Facebook owns all your shared information and they sell this information to other companies, thus your privacy is greatly compromised. Even if you untag yourself from an unflattering picture and even delete it, it will forever remain in the online world and it may come to haunt you in the future. Also, even if you delete your account, it is never completely deleted, only temporarily deactivated. However, it is not that easy at all especially since majority of your social environment is active on Facebook. By leaving Facebook, you will be seen as a social outcast and stigmatized.

  20. I definitely think that Facebook, and social media in general, emphasizes Mead’s “me”. People choose what they want the public to see, because society has standards of what is “cool” and “in” and what characterizes an “outcast” or “loser”. In general, people put out the best version of themselves for others to see. In class, we have been talking about how men and women on dating sites and social media sites choose the best images of themselves to post as their profile pictures so they will be perceived as best as possible. However, another example that I thought of is technically a social media outlet, but also for the purpose of networking for jobs. The website is called LinkedIn, and the reason I bring this up is because we have been talking so much about editing what goes online, but I don’t think anyone has brought up whether or not you even put yourself online. If you had a low-paying, lesser-respected job, would you post your job information on LinkedIn so people can find you and network with you? Maybe, but probably not, because you might be thinking in the back of your mind (hypothetically speaking), how would someone who knows me perceive me if they knew that I actually haven’t gotten a promotion in 15 years? Would they think less of me because I can’t get higher up in a business?

    On Facebook, you can update statuses, post pictures, post what you are listening to on Spotify, check-in at a location you frequent, and show the world many other aspects of your self, or “me”. However, you most likely won’t “check-in” at the city library if you try to act like a rebel in the physical world. Or, if the library is next to a tattoo parlor, you could “check-in” at the tattoo parlor because you think it fits your persona that you are portraying in the physical world. This is where I think that the digital and physical worlds are getting to be blurred a bit. In both worlds, you want to be perceived a certain way, so you act a certain way. We don’t really know when we will be imposed upon, so we are behaving differently in both realms because we don’t know if people are watching, reading, Facebook-stalking, or listening. I think we are always, in some way, just putting on a performance and exposing our “me”, the socialized part of us that is highly driven by social involvement and interactions

  21. I believe that the digital and physical self is still separated. Although the digital self has drastically changed over the past ten years it still is not the same as the physical. I believe that interactions people have in person differs than the interactions online. People will exhibit different traits or the lack there of when in person compared to online or visa versa. Although I do believe that both the physical and digital interactions definitely involve Mead’s “me” more than the “I”.

    Facebook is the perfect example of a place for online interactions that display the “me”. Everything about Facebook is about presenting yourself to others, and it requires the user to think about how others will view their presentation. This concept relates to Cooley’s “Looking Glass Self” because the ways people choose to act and react on Facebook involve thinking about how others will view them. An example of this is how users choose how to take,edit and display their photos. I believe that majority of the people on facebook do take much consideration in how they look in their pictures and try to reveal themselves in a way that is favorable in the perceptions of others which emphasis the “me” from the user.

    The “me” part of myself is definitely being put into this reply because I know that people will be reading this and I will be getting judged based upon my response. So, I have read over my reply and tried to display myself in an approving way.

  22. Facebook definitely emphasizes the Me. We construct our profiles for others, putting out what we want people to think or know about us. Facebook is a perfect example of what Goffman calls idealization because we are able to completely control what appears on our profiles, and we all try to make ourselves seem like ideal versions of ourselves. For example, we all have guilty pleasure TV shows or musical artists we enjoy, but we have the choice not to mention those particular things on our profiles.

    Last weekend, a friend was telling me about the only time his hometown was ever in the news. He told me he knew a boy in High School who had been caught on camera and arrested for repeatedly breaking into a barn and having sexual relations with sheep. My friend then brought up this person’s Facebook and he appeared to be a completely normal, healthy, well-adjusted person. Whether or not the person has changed his ways since his arrest, one can argue that Facebook certainly does not show the whole truth about people, but only what they choose to show to the world. On the other hand, it is also possible to be careless about what you post online and inadvertantly create an image for yourself that neither reflects who you truly are or who you want to be. In either case, our online selves exist only if they are seen by others and certainly emphasize the Me.

    I think our online identities are certainly separate from our physical identities, but only to the extent that we wish them to be. I think it’s absolutely possible for an online profile to give a fair portrayal of the way a person is in real life, but it is still only a portrayal and not inextricably intertwined with that person’s identity. There can certainly be consequences to contexting the world through the “Me” versus the “I,” whether it is the person who doesn’t get a job because they were careless with their posts or whether it is the person whose online profile led others to have unrealistically high expectations of him/her, or whether it is the person who starts dating a sheep rapist because he failed to mention it on his Facebook profile.

  23. I recently posted an image that said “I don’t always go to the gym, but when I do, I tell Facebook”. I think this exemplifies why people’s Facebooks emphasize Mead’s concept of the “me”. The statuses, pictures, etc, that people post reflect who they want others to THINK they are, not necessarily who they are. The content on people’s Facebooks is not verified – people can post whatever they want. This is evident in the ever-changing nature of Facebook. For example, many of my friends who were applying to grad school last year changed their Facebooks drastically to ensure that any schools who look at their page will be impressed. Images of them drinking, unintelligent statuses, and other things were deleted, and they added what they considered to be intelligent books to their list of favorite books, and modified their pages in many other ways to give off an intelligent, capable impression. This exemplifies that our Facebooks allow us to be whoever we want to be, and because we want others to think highly of us, we do not show who we actually are when we are by ourselves and free of socialization.

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