Social Media And Social Networking Sites Essay

1606 Words Mar 19th, 2016 7 Pages
In social networking sites individuals have the opportunity to perform identity. One has selective control over what attributes he or she wishes to display and thus, can present his or her best self. As philanthropy moves into online spheres, people engage in activism differently. Online activism is considered slacktivist, where no real effect results from an individual’s actions. Viral social movements such as The Ice Bucket Challenge and Kony 2012, although yielding different results, question whether charitable activities online are activist or slacktivist. Using Judith Butler’s theory of identity performance, I argue users of social networking sites perform philanthropy to present their best selves, rather than simply engaging in activist activities strictly for a cause 's benefit.
Social networking sites (hereafter SNS) offer users the opportunity to edit themselves into existence. SNS prompt users to reveal information about themselves, and gradually, users "have come to understand the art of online self-presentation and the importance of SNS as tools for […] self promotion" (van Dijk 200). Judith Butler discusses the importance of identity performance in gender, which is congruent to identity creation in SNS. Butler discusses how gender is "constituted [and bears] similarities to performative acts within theatrical contexts" (521). Online, one makes decisions about his or her identity by liking, commenting, and posting. Consequently, one 's identity is non-existence…

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