Who Are You? (2010)

Curated by Jacob Rushing
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Danah Boyd's "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life" gave me the inspiration to make an art exhibit based on online identity and privacy. The essay talks about teenagers who use MySpace to connect with their friends and make thier pages that represent themselves. Not only is Boyd's essay is relevant to MySpace, but all sorts of online interactions, where nowadays, people are required to make some sort of their "digital bodies" in order to participate in all sorts of online activity. On the web, anybody who wishes to participate in forums and social network sites are required to make profiles which they add their names, location, age, etc. People who participate in virtual chats are required to make a avatar to show to others their digital representations of themselves. Even in online games and consoles, players are required to make their game avatars which is seen online while interacting with other players. Second Life also gave me an inspiration to touch up on avatars that are created in digital space. The avatars in second life, as well as avatars in general, show off mostly on how the users dress up their avatars give other people a sense of who are these people behind the creation of their created avatar. This is related with making an identity of yourself which is shown to all sorts of people as a reflection of who you are. With making profiles in social network sites, games, and virtual reality, there comes issues that deal with privacy of the participants. In Danah Boyd's "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life", she mentions that teenagers who have MySpace profiles are prone to be viewed by public, whether it may admissions officers from universities, parents, sports coaches, and other people who hold power over teenagers. Boyd also mentioned when MySpace was bought by News Corporation, all adults, like predators, and marketers, flocked to MySpace to either track down kids that they know for their own purposes or to market goods (or promise) to kids who will listen. These sort of issues not only exist in MySpace, but in other social networking sites as well. In social networking sites, people who have power over certain people (ex. managers, admission officers, and even sports coaches) do background checks by looking at their online profiles. Furthermore, the information that people post in their profiles are also prone to have their posts become known to the public. Not only can their friends see what they post, but their posts can also be posted to other websites, making their information more public to more audiences. Its only the matter of taking someone's post and posting it at a another website. This sort of concept is relevant to people posting videos on Youtube about themselves, and even in forums and games, where whatever they post in a blog, or how people interact in a MMORPG can be seen by other users and recorded which would also be posted at another website. The "Who Are You" art exhibit highlights the themes of online identity, real or virtual, and privacy that is displayed for the public to see.

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