If you could collect all the answers you have ever given to all the online polls, questionnaires, profile requests, surveys, quizzes, and tests that ask about your personality – what picture would it paint of you?
- Describe yourself in 3 words
- Name a song that inspired you
- Describe a memorable moment
- Your favourite movie
- Food you dislike
And on and on the questions keep coming on social networking sites. All the answers, pictures that you upload, comments that you post, status updates, networks, group affiliations, friends, tweets, blogs, messages that you forward – create a digital you. But have you thought what does the profile really say about you? Do you tend to recreate yourself online? What you conceal can also be as telling as what you reveal. This was the discussion during a workshop I attended last week at Anglia Ruskin University. Digitize Me is a participatory online multi-media art project exploring the way we present ourselves online through social networking sites. The project is examining how we create our online identities in various social media in order to understand participatory network culture. One of the student’s online representations was his search history. What would your Google search history say about you?
There are however reports (see Creative Capital, the Guardian, the Register) that suggest user engagement with sites like Facebook is decreasing – after having found all your long lost friends, poked a few people, reached maximum level on Mafia wars, you tend to spend less time on Facebook only using it for sending emails and occasionally updating photos. For how long the trend in social networking will be around and whether it brings us closer or further apart is open to debate. What do you think?