9/7 Zach Coriarty “Social Media Activism, Self-Representation and the Construction of Political Biographies.”

In “Social Media Activism, Self-Representation and the Construction of Political Biographies.”, Barassi argues that social media accounts are effectively “political biographies” and are especially important today due to the audience available to most activists.

Barassi explains the difference between social media activism (SMA) and other forms of media activism as SMA being heavily personalized based on both one’s network and in the content shared. Barassi also points out that politics have changed from being based on ‘identity’ to ‘visibility’, partly due to the new medium of engagement. Next, the paper discusses what it is like to be a part of and form a community and how social media may have created a new type of community in which people are presented differently. Lastly, Barassi talks about how these social media platforms are used specifically, and it was found that the use cases are usually: participation in collective initiatives and to negotiate “collective meanings and codes”.

After reading this paper, I have to agree. Social media platforms definitely seem to almost be a different dimension when it comes to how people present themselves. In this class we have talked about anonymity and how it makes it easier to say what you want online rather than in person, however; I think permanence plays a greater role in the creation of the online world. This is because the most prominent actors on social media know that once they put something out there, it’s out there forever. So, they are more likely to think about how they want to present themselves, politically or not.

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