Rethinking the Perceived Self: Samples from Facebook

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Abstract

How the self perceives reality is a traditional topic of research across several disciplines. I examine the perceived self on Facebook, as a case-study of self-knowledge on „classical” social media. Following Blascovich & Bailenson (2011), I consider the distinction between the real and the virtual as relative. Perceptual self-knowledge, filtered through social media, requires rethinking the perceived self in terms of social reality (Neisser, 1993). This claim dovetails Jenkins’s (2013) notion of the self as an active participant in consumption. I argue that the perceived self in social media could be conceived in terms of how it would like to be perceived and appraised by its virtual audience. Using Neisser’s (1993) typology of self-knowledge and Castañeda’s (1983) theory of I-guises, I analyse seven samples from Anglo-American and Bulgarian Facebook sites and show that the perceived self produces itself online as a captivating presence with a credible story. My samples are taken from FB community pages with negligible cultural differences across an online teenage/twens (twixter) age group. I then discuss some problematic aspects of the perceived self online, as well as recent critiques of technoconsumerism.

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Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies

The Journal of "Sapientia" Hungarian University of Transylvania

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