Self-Presentation and Selective Self-Presentation




Self-Presentation and Selective Self-Presentation

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Self-Presentation and Selective Self-Presentation

Nowadays, virtual communities are perceived as inseparable from everyday human life and sometimes are even more influential for people than those of the real world. Computer-mediated communication is a separate way to socialize and represent self to others. It provides a unique opportunity for new way of self-presentation, which can be different from the one that already exists and demands additional efforts to represent their authentic identities online properly and accurately. Mainly the personal network lets one analyze the social support and ties between people. Moreover, it lets one view the personal ego in the center and let one analyze the immediate and extended ties as those that have crucial influence on personal motivation regarding self-presentation online. This paper is aimed to distinguish between self-presentation and selective self-presentation as factors that define the possibility of creation of real and fake friendship or other close relations online.

Self-presentation is packing and editing self ... to create a better impression on the audience (L.S. Goulet, lecture, February 4, 2015). Such presentation shows the creative sides of a person from the perspective of the abilities to choose about what information to involve or leave out regarding the goals and the target audience. Selective self-presentation is based on the opposition of the idealized virtual identity and real-life hypothesis. It always considers the aspect of the face-to face meeting as one that can disperse the hoax. Such false presentation stays possible due to the textual nature of online communication, slowed temporal dynamics, nonverbal cues minimization etc. (L.S. Goulet, lecture, February 4, 2015). However, it also contributes to failure in getting real friends for the presence of fake information.

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Mass media has a direct and powerful influence on peoples minds. Mainly its simple and mechanistic model makes it easier to explain the selective presentation spread for the creation of the stereotypes and beauty standards (L.S. Goulet, lecture, February 4, 2015). Various properties of social media that contribute to such presentation can be properly observed on the example of the online dating, which is the sphere that is focused of presentation of the better personal sides a lot, and social networks like Facebook or MySpace. However, bigger amount of deception on dating sites is mostly associated with the cases, when no face-to-face meeting is expected. Therefore, the deception is subtle rather than extreme (Hancock&Toma, 2009). Nevertheless, in all cases, photography is the first way to represent self. It is common for the users, who are more interested in the higher popularity rating, to use more photographs in the profile. Careful selection of the images and possibility of their editing with the help of various applications is essential for the users in the context of their goals to be more popular online. Makeup, professional hair styling or wigs, and flattering clothes and various poses as well as the age of the photographs are the important feature that influences the photo accuracy greatly. At the same time, camera resolution, light exposure, and zooming can affect the nature of the photo greatly and provide false information about the user even though the photos may really belong to him (Hancock&Toma, 2009). In addition to this, the other property contributing to deception possibility is a great availability of various photos online and, hence, high level doubts of the authenticity of the images used in the profile.

Nowadays, 69% of people consider themselves members of the virtual community (L.S. Goulet, lecture, February 4, 2015). Such community, which is based on ties that are strong for the emotional attachments, time commitment and closeness, can unify people and create the trustful relations between its members. Mainly the strong ties are the indicators of the further interest to be represented in a better light, as more competent or intelligent. In contrast, the weak ties can make a person stay not interested in creation of the trustful relations or provide permanent and experienced support in various spheres. Homophily that implies the importance of humans similarity for the strength of their connection can limit the information people receive and in turn influence attitude formation (L.S. Goulet, lecture, February 25, 2015). However, it limits the innovations diffusion and the spread of the innovative online practices. Furthermore, transitivity is also an essential feature that characterizes community relations and explains their ties on the basis of the cognitive balance theory (L.S. Goulet, lecture, February 4, 2015). The rules are appropriate for the virtual world as well as for the real one. However, it is important that physically accessible persons are more likely to provide small and large services. Therefore, this group of mates usually is of higher priority regarding the interests to share more decent and prominent information to make a better impression. Nevertheless, the primary characteristic of online communication is its high percentage of lies about the identity. Such identity hoaxes can be predetermined by a number of reasons and include the lack of social support is real life, different mental disorders or any other personal reasons. Anyway,together with various warrants and sanctions, the essential characteristic of peoples motivation to present an accurate identity and appearance is the inward mechanism, which is not likely to be satisfied by making a person feel as a liar. At the same time, it is important that lays often leads to human anxiety. Personality traits and characteristics are also crucial to make one want search friends or dates online (Tufekci, 2010). Finally, there are the aware (persuasion and imitation) and unaware (manipulation and contagion) factors that can make the user decide to lie or not in the virtual community (L.S. Goulet, lecture, February 25, 2015).

To sum it up, certain internet affordances really facilitate self-presentation of the users. However, there is a great number of examples that people often refer to the selective self-presentation as a way to represent only the best qualities to make a better impression. Even though there exist a great number of profile hoaxes, the goals that their owners pursue are rarely malicious. Textual character of communication together with the ability to choose the number of the photos, edit them and stay unrevealed without a face-to face meeting obviously is for sure a great property improving the selective self-representation abilities. Personal characteristics, aims, and different kinds of the exterior and interior influences are effective to motivate users to represent authentic identities.

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