Emma Ballish

In regards to the New York Times Article, “Social Media Got You Down? Be More Like Beyonce”, the author was emphasizing the lack of engagement that Beyonce has on her social media feeds. Although her curation of images and posts does not appear much different from other prominent artists or musicians, she does not directly engage or post opinionated, or questionable content that would distract from her success or production as an artist. I agree with the author of this article. Through this careful selection of content and images, Beyonce has created an image upon which anyone can impress their own meanings and understandings. The mystique surrounding her personal life is the attractive aspect of her social media presence. Even amidst the release of her controversial album, Lemonade, she did not directly answer the many questions being asked about her marriage and the potential infidelity of her husband, Jay Z. She allowed for the album to merely exist and for the listeners to project and glean their own meaning, without the need for her intervention to explain and complicate the issue with her own experiences. In this way, I believe that Beyonce’s approach to social media effectively achieves the approach that she wants to have. If our social media presence is this production and accumulation of dramaturgical performances, then the gauge of whether or not an individual is successfully in these performances would be on whether or not they have achieved the result, the response that they sought in producing the content and images presented on their social media. How do you begin to justify critiquing and deeming one form of presentation as more authentic or valuable when social interaction itself is a restrictive process that is guided and shaped by the behaviors deemed appropriate and acceptable for interacting with other people? The invention of technological means for presentation did not obfuscate or destroy social performance, but merely offered a new set of possibilities for presentation. Should a differentiation between more classical forms of behavior and performance and the performance of self through social media be made to construe one as more negative than the other?

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