Representing Erika

This avatar is my current default photo on Facebook. This to me holds a lot of significance in the fact that before this I hadn’t changed my profile photo for a while and so putting this up, I noticed I felt like I was jumping out of the ‘safe’ zone. Observing this photo from the outside it can be concluded that I am a college student. The photo at first glance looks like an innocent girl and her roommate or friend on a colder winter day. However, at further inspection one will be able to tell by the large amount of people in the back and the discreet boy between our heads chugging a beer that we are at a party of some sort. When I choose this photo to finally take place of my current photo I found it to be an accurate representation on what image I was trying to achieve and how I feel I actually am. I wanted to show my followers I was at college and having fun but I also didn’t want to outwardly and obviously show myself partying and promoting underage alcohol consumption. From this photo my friends will be able to tell that I do go out in college and I fit that college stereotype but I am also not obvious about it. Furthermore, clearly in this photo the two girls look a lot alike. We both are wearing knit beanies, our hair is curled, and we seem to be following the same fashion code. Clearly, we are reinforcing each other’s identity as a basic college girl. We are promoting the look each of us has and making it so we don’t stand out awkwardly and look unlike everyone else. I may anticipate unwelcomed responses to the fact that we look identical because we aren’t looking too original in anyway. However, others may like the uniformity of this photo. Overall, this photo seems like a safe option to represent myself online.

This avatar acted as my profile photo on Facebook for a very long time. This photo first confirms my new residence in the Philly region because visiting the Philadelphia Magic Gardens seems like a right of passage to live here as a young college student. This photo also confirms my gender as a woman I feel like. I am fully self aware in this photo my outfit is representing myself and I have my hair done to how I like to have it done. I am confident in my gender in this photo. This photo does conceal the fact that I am a college student attending a Jesuit University and that I’m in a sorority and I tend to fall on the basic side of society. Looking at this photo one may think I am ‘artsy’ and more hip than I might actually be in real life. They may not guess this girl is in a sorority and goes to a Jesuit University. The audience I had in mind when choosing and editing this photo was all the of my friends and followers who are posting original and very unique content of their own to their Facebook’s and Instagrams. I wanted to make my profile a little more unique so I didn’t keep blending in with everyone else on my timeline. I felt like this was a good option to do this. This photo also was my first photo as my default photo that I am standing completely alone in the photo. As it has been stated, “These powerful men and women are so scared that if anyone looked at them closely and dissected why they are in control that they might turn to dust. So they discourage anyone from looking at anyone else — even themselves — with intensity or tenderness.” (Syme 1) I usually have shied away from posting single photos because all the focus would be on me but I felt good enough and confident to post this one. I feel like people may perceive me now of being confident in myself on not needing other friends to reinforce my look or myself. Overall, I loved this photo because it was a little different than what a lot of my friends make their profile photos and I felt it wasn’t a ‘traditional’ photo for my generation.

Looking back on this photo it brings me back to a time when things were a lot simpler on social media. I remember when I first got into college and I began taking photos before going out to a party or such and I never though twice about how I was representing myself to others or how I ‘should’ be representing myself. I made this photo my Facebook profile photo around Christmas time last year and it was a very casual. Now when I change my profile photo I think and lot ahead and it feel like it’s a bigger commitment. However, I remember uploading this and I didn’t add any filter or editing to it and I didn’t even think twice about changing it. This can represent the time on social media when filtering wasn’t extremely important and photo editing was really a thing. From this photo the audience can confirm that I am a college student, they can tell I am confident in my gender as a women die to my clothing choices of a small tank top and tight jeans. I look confident in myself I think in this photo. Along with this, standing next to another college girl is enforcing my look. She is dressed similarly and clearly we approve of each other’s looks. This photo really appeals to the audience of other college attendees that are going out and partying as well. However, I believe photos like this in college really can hid that college is a lot more fun or easy than it actually is. I remember freshman year being a time of fun and memories but also a lot of anxious times and homesickness. Instagram and social media can hide how life actually is. Discussed in the article about Brittany Ashley, “Hers just wasn’t the breezy, glamorous life people expected from her. Customers had approached her at work before, starstruck but confused. Why would someone with 90,000 Instagram followers be serving brunch?” (Dunn 1). Like Brittany the online life can cause people to create such a false reality for an individual. This photo can hid all the negatives and make it look like I am having a perfectly fun time. From this photo people may be able to stereotype me as a basic college girl who likes to go out and get drunk or due to my small tank top and clothing choice they may think I am going out to hook up with boys or such. Overall, I see this photo as a very typical college photo and others may see that as well.

This last photo was posted on Instagram this summer and from that I made it my Instagram avatar. This photo is significant to me because I remember I got over 200 likes on it and in the moment it made me feel really good about myself. Looking at this photo I do like it because it does make me feel confident. The editing I did to this photo was very simple all I did was fix the contrast and make the brightness stronger. I think it looks good with minimal editing. This photo I feel doesn’t tell that much about me. One can guess that I am on a summer break with my friend. But I don’t think they can tell anything about my religion, class, education background, sexuality, etc. One may be able to tell my ethnicity by my freckles that are dark in this photo and show I am Irish. I like this photo because of the simplicity of it. I anticipated my friends and followers to like this photo as well. I feel like because it doesn’t tell much about where I am or where I’m going or who I am really that it is up for more interpretation, “Selfies, though, are all about looking away. They are not a closed loop. T​hey are a new and vibrant language. Selfies never exist in a vacuum. Once they go live, they have adventures, they go out and ​make friends. They are born by waves, digital driftwood: millions of faces washing up on various shores, launching various ships. They ​voyage ahead ​and probe new communities, and sometimes they bring back stories.” (Syme 1)I think it is a good photo of me and looks very natural of me. The girl in the photo with me is reinforcing my posing of the traditional selfie pose and reinforces the idea of the summery carefree photo because she is also tan and light hair. Overall, I think people enjoyed the simplicity of the photo and the natural editing.

Works Cited

Syme, Rachel. “SELFIE — Matter.” Medium. N.p., 19 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

Dunn, Gaby. “You Can Have Millions Of Subscribers On YouTube-And Still Be Flat Broke.” Fusion. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

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