Reading: It’s Complicated

I’ve begun my prelims by starting with my first topic: the presentation of the digital self. I’ve just finished reading danah boyd’s “It’s Complicated.” Although the book focuses on teen’s use of social media, it offers a compelling explanation of how mediated presentations of self are influenced and shaped by cultural and societal conditions. While many talk in terms of teen’s “addiction” to social media, boyd painstakingly details how teens, in actuality, are using social media as a workaround that allows them to digitally connect with friends because their ability to connect offline is limited. In other words, teens are addicted to each other, not to social media. This concept, simple at its core, stands in stark contrast to news media and societal conceptions of social media and teen’s use of it. It can be extended to more general use of social media as well. It also does well to counter the notion that social media usage is narcissistic. I have recommended the book to scholars and parents, as well, as it serves multiple purposes in this regard.

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