Friday, July 31, 2009

You looked better on MySpace - aka pointing out the obvious

I was reading a recent article on First Monday the other day (abstract and link bellow) that seems to point out the obvious. In my early days on the internet in the late 90s I spent a lot of time on IRC chat rooms, Yahoo chat rooms, meeting people on ICQ and other related services. It was pretty cool to meet people from other countries and get to talk to them about their daily lives. Many times we also exchanged photographs much like old-school pen pals.

In some occasions people looked better online, and in other cases people looked better in a face-to-face meeting. It all depended on the photograph. While the article was interesting, I really don't get why people feel deceived by profile photos. Yes there is the stylistic element, but in our society I've noticed that we try to be picture perfect (aka photoshop perfect) and that just isn't reality. In a society where people feel pressured to look like supermodels, the photographic style will reflect that tendency. I think it's a bit disingenuous to call it a deception.

The article is not super long and it does have some photography samples. Go have a read :-)



ABSTRACT:
This paper examines Social Network Site (SNS) users’ criticism of a popular style of SNS profile picture referred to as “MySpace Angles.” Reactions to this style of portraiture label the display of these photographs “deceptive,” alleging that MySpace Angles fool users into believing that the subject is more attractive than they actually are. This case study approach utilizes a close reading analysis of the MySpace Angle commentary, revealing three main themes in users’ critique of MySpace Angles: 1) users who post these photographs are conforming to a social trend at the expense of their individuality; 2) the presentation of these photographs is narcissistic; and, 3) these photographs purposefully conceal the body. This case study displays a shift in the conception of deception online; on the social Web populated by SNSs, theories of deception and authenticity are called into question as users are increasingly anchored to their bodies and expected to effortlessly present an online self mirroring the off-line self.

Link: click here
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