To be, or not to be…that is the question

One should first understand what ‘autoethnography’ means to fully grasp the content and concept of what my story tells. It really focuses on the intersection of ourselves to other things in the outside environment. According to Jacquelyn Alien-Collinson it is, “…a relational research approach that offers a variety of modes of engaging with self or perhaps more accurately with selves, in realtion to other, to culture, to politics” (282).

Current Facebook profile picture

Ray-Ban green reflector sunglasses, champagne, David Yurman ring, looks like a nice place in the background and an iPhone. Pretty “basic” if you ask me and I have clearly fallen into that category here. Currently, this is my profile picture on Facebook. I chose this first of all because I thought it was a pretty nice picture and the campagne glass right in front seemed “artsy”. My mom actually took this picture of me so there’s another reason why I used it because I wanted her to feel cool in the sense that I was using a picture that she herself took. While this picture was taken, I knew that this would be a “selfie”. As Rachel Syme as stated, “Selfies must be shared — or at least be taken as a part of a series with the intention to share at least one…”(14). This is definitely a selfie I have shared because it is the main photo of my profile so therefore, all of my Facebook friends can see it. Fun fact: there are actually no filters whatsoever on this picture…shocking, right? The Facebook culture is something many of us are used to and know all about. People articulate their profile pictures and cover photos in a certain way so they will get a lot of likes and comments. My generation seems to be moving away from Facebook a little bit but this isn’t stopping anyone from editing their pictures and trying to make themselves be as cool as possibly. Just for some insight — I keep a certain amount of profile photos at all times (6 photos) because you never want to have too many and I always make sure they are the best possible pictures of me and if they pictures get to be too old then I will delete it. Facebook almost instills on us that we have to keep our profiles up to date with updated pictures so in a sense I almost feel obligated to do this. My profile picture to me is a “typical Facebook profile picture” and that is pretty much what I wanted to fulfill. As I was choosing a photo to pick, the audience who I know views my profile did come across my mind. All my friends and family have a Facebook, pretty much, so I want them to see something that would appeal to them. In this photo, I am not covering up who I am by any means…that is me and I am not trying to be anyone different than who I am. I feel as if I am just conforming myself to the Facebook culture. I want people to enjoy what they are looking at.

Current LinkedIn profile picture

“Hire me please!” — There is not much to say about this picture because in reality, it is very straight-foward and simple. There are no other objects, people, (or champagne glasses for that matter). This is simply and up-close and personal photo of just my face and that was my main goal for the specific social platform that it is on. This is my profile picture on my LinkedIn page. It is known that LinkedIn is used to potential employers to see you and look at who you are and look at your resume so having a professional picture here is pretty important. I would never use my Facebook profile picture on this social platform because it seems to me to be unprofessional (espeically because there was alcohol present in the picture). So yes, I am definitely thinking about the audience viewing my profile here and I am putting into question how they will judge me and I anticipate the assumptions that others will make when they seem me and my profile. I know a bunch of people who actually get their LinkedIn profile photos professionally done and they are wearing something nice but I did not feel the need to go that far. I personally believe this is an appropriate picture of me and I would want professionals to see me like that. I did honestly edit this picture a bit and I put a darker filter on it (I do not remeber exactly what it was called but I took the filter from Instagram). I did this because I wanted to make it seem as if I’m not wearing a ton of makeup because sometimes that can be considered “too much” or “fake”. I do not necessarily believe in that totally but I am altering myself a bit here just to please others who may think that. In a sense that is a little sad but sometimes you got to do what you got to do. This social platform and specific picture that I chose reminds me closely to the concept of “self-branding” which Alice E. Marwick talks about. One definition she gives of the word is, “Self-branding is primarily a series of marketing strategies applied to the individual” (166). Especially since LinkedIn has to do with professions and such, I feel as if self-branding can be applied here. Changing our pictures to look a certain way (professional) to fit in the LinkedIn culture can be a marketing strategy that we are applying to ourselves. This is one place where we want ourselves to be branded in a specific way and almost promote ourselves in a sense. Seeing that we upload our resumes to this social platform, we are definitely showing off and promoting who we say that we are. This is a big deal. One would never just have a picture of themselves chugging a beer and writing on here “I drink every single night and sometimes I like to smoke weed”. That is not what this LinkedIn culture is about. That may be okay for some social media platforms but not for this. You would almost be looked down upon if you ever did that. I think that sometimes that pictures we choose to put on our LinkedIn may disguise who we really are…maybe it is one of our many selves.

An Instragram photo that I have recently posted

“How many likes am I going to get?! and is this a dope filter?! Do I look even really look that good?! I have to have an awesome #hashtag!” Yes…I am talking about Istagram. The “OG” (original) Queen (or King) of filtering pictures and home of a million selfies. The culture of this app is quite large and people who are using it are obsessed with editing and seeing how many likes they can get. There is a lot going on in this photo. To start off, I am CLEARLY drinking, not wearing my own hat, and I seem to be dancing. Also, it appears I am away somewhere tropical and obviously others are there too because of all the people in the background. You guessed it…I am on Spring Break! #CUN2k16. There are many Instagram and VCSO (which is an app where you can upload and edit pictures) filters applied to this photo. I take Instagram to be a place where you can post fun pictures of basically anything you desire to have on there. I tried to make the picture faded (with added light) in some areas to make it look more worn out and artsy. I clearly am the center focus of this picture and that is what I was aiming for. As I was posting this photo to Instagram, I was definitely thinking about how my audience (my Instagram followers) would view my picture. I’m sure people made some judgmental comments about it but I also thought about how people would look at it positively. I did get a lot of great comments on it such as: “Love this lol” and “Omg!”. The pictures I post on Instagram all vary but on occasson I do post a selfie when I personally believe that it is good enough. I almost got a bit embarrassed when I posted this picture because I was nervous maybe no one would like it or make rude comments so it was acutally kind of nerve-wracking the second I posted it. People look at selfies in such a bad way sometimes and I wish that was not the case. Instagram is a place where people can truly express who they are in any way that they want to and I love that.

Old cover photo for Facebook

Typical picture of MY GIRLS and I. This is such a cliché group photo that so many people are used to seeing. This used to be one of my cover photos on my Facebook page. It almost seems to be a Facebook rule that a cover photo should be for a picture dedicated to you and your friends. This is such a typical picture and I’m not afraid to admit it but it does mean a lot to me and that is why I chose it. These are my very best friends (minus one person is missing in here) and they are very dear to me. This night was also a ton of fun so it has a lot of significance to it. I guess I wanted to show people on Facebook a great picture of my close friends and I. It is almost like I wanted to show off and that sounds bad but I don’t think it should be bad at all.

Overall, I have come to the conclusion that I am not afraid to admit that I do alter some pictures for certain audiences and I think about how they are going to perceive me and I am honestly okay with that. This is who I am. So, to be someone who you are or not to be someone that you aren’t…that is the true question here that I think people struggle with all the time. It is okay to be whatever you want to be, in my opinion. Even with photos, edit them if you’d like…there is nothing wrong with that but you should always stay true to your feelings and stay true to what you want people to see…I think that’s really all that matters.

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