Essay. I. Digital stage for life-long self presentation

Sometimes it is extremely hard to define a transformation of any kind; before we acknowledge the change, we have been experiencing/ experimenting it already. The development of technology that introduces the so called ‘cyberspace’, a term that stands for any ‘space’ created by computer networks, is the trigger of the emergence of digital stage (Abercrombie & Longhurst, 2007). On this stage, we have questioned, and are continue to look for debates about the shifts from print to digital literacy. Perhaps, we have been wondering how this digital stage would shape our online behaviors and identities. Moreover, certain adverse effects could raise public awareness of such technology-based society. In order to address my own perception of digital era, it is crucial to introduce broad shifts and features during this transition from print to digital media. Although negative views would be discussed such as online disinhibition related to identity, the life-long self presentation would be the educational focus to be addressed for future students and educators.

The Web 2.0 storytelling introduces the use of technology, tools and strategies to circulate the information (Alexander & Levine, 2008). Both microcontent and social media are discussed as two main features of Web 2.0 due to the fact that the worldwide accepted definition cannot be concluded. The outcomes turn out to be positive. For example, it makes it easier and accessible for participation and publishing through new practices for telling stories (Alexander & Levine, 2008). The ‘snowball’ effect could perfectly describe the exposure of microcontent. For instance, one post is connected through comments, links, and the content would be placed around those potential readers (Alexander & Levine, 2008).

When the cyberspace is forming at fast pace, there are two terms, ‘disinhibition‘ and ‘benign disinhibition‘, which are generated. Online users would feel free and open, or establish unusual kindness & generosity (Suler, 2004). The barriers of communication exist due to the creation of cyberspace where invisibility, asynchronicity get involved (Suler, 2004). Online users could have the mask to tell stories whether it is genuine or aggressive; meanwhile, when it comes to responding, users have the option to escape for a while, delaying the responses (Suler, 2004). Moreover, the phenomenon of the explosion of suppressed emotions becomes daily norms.

Such recognition of online negative, or perhaps positive influence on some users, leads to the idea of building personal cyberinfrastructure. Campbell points out a paucity of information among students, educators and staff due to the fact that few students are guided to the digital stage (2009). For instance, the enormous communication tools such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs provide the opportunity for users to present and imagine what could be expressed (Campbell, 2009). But, they won’t necessarily have the passion to discover their ways of presentation, scoring the expectation of what professors prefer. If students, educators and staff do not take advantage of such opportunity to train themselves to learn and imagine continuously, the invaluable of self-presentation could be buried completely. And, what Campbell suggests is to encourage educational facilities to introduce a building process of personal cyberinfrastructure (2009). All students, educators and staff would absorb knowledge, not being onlookers that follow the existed frames of academic work(Campbell, 2009). There is always space for improvements for any system that functions already.

As Campbell suggests, the process of building personal cyberinfrastructure would stimulate students, educators and staff to actually think like hosts (2009). To discuss some specific ways of self-presentation, Grafton and Maurer discover and report their findings about the online public engagements, based on two specific sites: Canada Reads and homeless blog: The Homeless Guy (2008). When bloggers write about Canada Reads, they not only target the blog’s exigence of self cultivation and validation, but also annual literary events (Grafton & Maurer, 2008). Through posting related information, bloggers like John Mutford, a winner prediction in blog post, would engage with Canada Reads, circulate texts and opinions in public (Grafton & Maurer, 2008). Likewise, bloggers like Barbieux would choose to “expand the exigence of self cultivation and validation by arranging for new subject positions not only for themselves but for other homeless people” (Grafton & Maurer, 2008, p. 56). For instance, Barbieux tends to link to other homeless blogs to promote the homeless blog as a “public and civic genre” instead of individual, personal voice (Grafton & Maurer, 2008, p. 58). Importantly, as students, educators and staff who are new to this digital stage, they all have to conquer obstacles, finding their all ways of presenting themselves as well as engaging the public. That is when people could obtain knowledge, exchange traits and skills around the world.

The life-long self presentation on digital stage is a learning process, a educational pathway for each individual. Future students, educators and staff would have to embrace such technology based digital world to improve themselves by recognizing potential effects, building personal cyberinfrastructure and engaging the public. In order to minimize future generation being lost in their cyberspace, all educators, students and all would have to be involved passionately and responsibly. Our ability of self presentation are not inherent, it requires the energy input of knowledge absorption.

References

Abercrombie, N., & Longhurst, B. (2007). Dictionary of media studies. Penguin Books.

Alexander, B. & Levine, A (2008). Emergence of a New Gerne. Web 2.0 Storytelling,1. EduCause Review. Retrieved February 17, 2015, from http://files.umwblogs.org/blogs.dir/3162/files/2010/01/web2.0_storytelling.pdf

Campbell, G. (2009). A Personal Cyberinfrastructure. Retrieved February 17, 2015, from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/personal-cyberinfrastructure

Grafton, K., & Maurer, E. (2007). Engaging with and arranging for publics in blog gernes. Linguistics & The Human Sciences. 3(1). Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/ehost/detail/detail?sid=9dec45a1-81e8-4558-9b64-7f2553787cc1%40sessionmgr4004&vid=0&hid=4114&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ufh&AN=36133600

Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. CyberPsychology and Behavior. 7(321-326). Retrieved from http://users.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/disinhibit.html

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