Social Networking Sites (SNSs) : express ourselves

Social Networking Sites (SNSs) : express ourselves

There are various kinds of communication services online. We can send a message, show the photos and pictures, write a novel and a diary. All these services are used to be done by people in the offline and they are replaced with the online space.

However, social networking is somewhat different from these activities above. It represents ourselves, and we’re acting in the world of SNS as if we’re living in the virtual world. In that sense, the importance of SNS and management of identity on the SNS is really crucial to the people , especially the youth.

This week, in the course of “Internet Cultures”, I read this paper, which tells the characteristics on the profile page of SNS, by using the activity to make a photo album as a comparison of people’s behaviour.

Clare Dowdall In R.Willett (2009)The texts of me and the texts of us: improvisation and polished performance in social networking sites
in M. Robinson and J. Marsh (eds) (forthcoming) Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures. London: Routledge.

In this paper, the author talks about the texts to show identity in the SNS and its difference from conventional expression of identity for people. Compared to the identities before the SNS expressed by the photos on album, the identity in the SNS is floating and easily be updated many times. Doedall says it is different when people pick up their photos to make an album and the way of showing ourselves is different between offline world and cyberspace.

I admit both making a photo album and a profile page on SNS are showing ourselves to others, but these two things have lots of different meanings to the individual. I’m going to see the difference one by one.


As I said before, both of them intend to show ourselves to others, but other meanings are different.
Making photo album is pinning the moment forever. Its meaning is rather recording the “at that moment” self.
However, the profile page in the SNS has a role to express “current” self. So it needed to be updated constantly, as we’re changing every day.
I that sense, the participant of this paper continuously changes the page.


Audiences also differ between these two activities. Generally, the people who look at our photo album is limited and we can select the people who see the album. On the other hand, we cannot tell who’ll see our profile page in cyberspace. AS a result, people tend to take more notice of managing their identity online and sometimes have various identities according to audiences over the monitor. For this reason, the management of SNS identity usually more troublesome for individuals.

Feedback from others

I think it is the most significant trait of SNS and it makes our usage SNS more complicate and tough, that we can receive the feedbacks from the members on SNS.
As I said before, SNS represents ourselves, so the feedback from the peers sounds like the direct evaluation of ourselves. This is different from making and showing our photo albums to others. While using the photo album we talk about the event itself, using SNS we talk about our whole personality. It makes people really serious to manage and control their character on SNS and there is much possibility people feel hurt in the communication between the people on SNS.

As I see above, using SNS has many differences between the management of conventional identity and current identity in SNS. Most of the case, the control of SNS personality is more difficult and has significant meanings to the individual. We should know this trait to use this new, interesting tool in cyberspace.


  1. John Potter

    Do you think that in the end your main issue is with the lack of control? The giving up of possession of the picture into wider control? IS this the key difference for you for SNS? Thank you for the post