We live in a society where we are often encouraged to project an image of ourselves to the world, to present and, sometimes, even construct an identity that tells others who we are, who we are not, and who we might like to be. Many of us work in jobs, live in communities, or have social lives that reinforce this expectation. With the growth of social media, new forms of self- expression and self-publishing on the Internet (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, blogs, etc.) new platforms for presenting ourselves to the world are only expanding, and novel tools for presenting or inventing ourselves and our lives are more and more available.
Your job is to produce a thoughtful autobiographical essay (3-4 pages) entitled Me and My Online Self, in which you explore and discuss your own personal identity, the role it plays in your own life, your thinking, your behavior, and your interactions with other peoplefriends, acquaintances, strangers, employers, teachers. Also discuss the ways you that you actively promote this identity either online or offline.
Rely on your own firsthand experience and actions as your primary resource, though you include your thoughts on the ways society, products, technology, and the expectations of others have an impact on how you present yourself to the world. If you have different identities for different contexts, discuss theseand how these constructed identities might conflict with one another. You may want to include thoughts about how your image benefits you, and/or causes difficulties for you in your life. You should also discuss the tension between your outer and inner self if this is an important issue to you. Use clear and specific examples from your life in developing your essay. Write in plain and straightforward language.
Feel free to include visual matter, Selfies, or websites and/or computer screenshots (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) when relevant, but they should reflect or portray your own thoughts about the role that social media plays in your life. If you do not use social media, write a well-developed essay on why you choose to avoid this ever-present aspect of contemporary life.
Before attempting to respond to this assignment, read the following sections from All Consuming Images: Preface to the New Edition, Introduction: Shoes for Thought, and Chapter 1, Images Without Bottom. In these sections of the book you will learn how other Hunter College students, in the 1980s and 1990s, responded to a related assignment, though the Internet was not yet a part of their lives. While none of these students used or even knew about the Internet, and their responses reflect an earlier time, their thoughts and reflections should help you to begin your own assignment. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WRITE YOUR ESSAY WITHOUT HAVING READ THESE PASSAGES. You should refer to specific stories in these chapters if they are relevant to your own essay.
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