Not-So-United States of America

It is no secret how social media play a huge role in our daily lives. Social networking sites allow us to share our feelings, connect with friends and family and allow us to show off just how pretty we all are! Though, with this year’s Presidential Election, we really saw how powerful they really can be, and frankly, how social networking quickly turned into social net-“whining”…Photo: Google Images

People talked about each candidate, saying both positive and negative things. They did this by posting statuses on Facebook, and tweeting on Twitter wherein other people would comment on whether or not they agreed. Long story short, people all of the sudden fancied themselves political geniuses! So, at least all the posting and tweeting would stop after the election, right? Wrong! It’s kind of like a bad dream, and the political posts just keep coming and coming…

Anyway, an example of a recent political post on Facebook is an article from Yahoo! News that was posted onto the wall one of my very notoriously conservative Facebook “friends” earlier today. This guy and myself are what Caroline Haythornthwaite would call a “weak tie”, meaning we are connected through one channel of media however we do not provide an emotional support for each other (Haythornthwaite). Our weak connection, though, was still able to provide me with the information in the article, otherwise known as social capital (Ellison,Steinfield & Lampe). The entry is titled “Secession Petitions Filed In 20 States” and is about how directly after Barack Obama was reelected for a second term as President,  (Photo: Washington Post) thousands of US citizens filed petitions “peacefully” requesting the secession of their respective states from the United States of America…(it’s ok, I laughed too). People from states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri and even New York, to name a few, were the ones who signed. Texas has conjured up the most signatures, however, with a total of 23,000 thus far

(seems a bit dramatic, no?). Photo: Google Images 

The article’s author, Mike Krumboltz, believes that this is only a “symbolic gesture” because it would be more likely for you to “win the lottery while getting hit by a meteor while seeing Bigfoot while finding gluten-free pizza that tastes like real thing” than for the American government to give any state permission to just throw up their deuces and peace out (Krumboltz).

This was post on my friend’s wall. So, to me, it clearly presents some type of performance of identity from the person who posted it. This person was clearly trying to communicate something through the article as they did not provide any additional comments or captions to substantiate the post. Because as Don Slater would say in his “Social Relationships and Identity Online and Offline” , you can perform any identity you choose. Online identity “offers the space for practical exploration or even realization for an intellectual trajectory” (Slater). Therefore, this person on Facebook was able to realize their personal intellectual freedom by posting this article. Furthermore, he was communicating a part of his identity because of the very underlying political message and nature of the post.

While it became notoriously annoying how much people posted about the Election this year, it actually ultimately became a pretty useful experience for the analysis of identity performance on the Internet.

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