Case Study #2 Revised Outline

For this next case study, we must combine two theories and use them together to analyze our OoS. Below is the outline I created to brainstorm for this case study.

Prior et al. focus on remaking the cannons, going from the five classic to the “take 2” that encompasses the five cannons in a three-part approach. In the process of remapping, Prior et al. discover ways to approach one’s individual role and how one interacts with the network as a whole. This opens up the way we view discourse, much like how Foucault presented a less constrained way to view discourse. These theories present limits, however, because they focus much on how we interact with the network and not just self (which the profile mainly represents). These theories also make it a bit difficult to discus how the OoS moves thorughout the network. I see the one’s profile picture as moving through the news feed, through your comments on other posts and pages (since your profile picture is connected to them) but I am not sure how to use the theories to describe this.

Theory 1: Venting & CHAT

  • People use their profile pictures as a way to “vent”
    • Pictures can include political messages/images, pictures from the past (old baby photos), and personal emotion (pictures of one crying, gesturing, screaming)
    • When looking through a person’s profile, each profile picture is saved. You can see a progression of time, starting from when the person created their account but potentially also of the person aging & subsequent life events (old baby photos again, prom, wedding, own children). You can also view what people commented on these photos when they were originally posted and have the opportunity to add to these comments yourself in the present. This is quite reminiscent of the literal vent that was in Rohan’s library, a timeline of different events and comments
  • CHAT
    • Literate Activity
      • Representation & Reception (what people post to represent themselves and how those images are taken)
      • Activity (how and when people post their profile pictures)
    • Functional Systems
      • People: People represent themselves, through their profile picture, as a piece of the network
      • Communities: people are connected through Facebook & through their profile photos via tagging, commenting on photos, and “throwback Thursday” profile pictures that often represent a past friendship/connection
        • Updated your photo to show support for gay rights with a rainbow filter (one that matches other people’s profile picture filters who are involved in the social movement)
      • Laminated Chronotopes
        • Represented: People are often different than they would appear in their profile pictures. This creates two selves, one online and one in reality. Both selves interact with each other inside the overall network (Facebook, but also life) and separately (either online or in person). In this way, the profile picture and it’s connections extend pass Facebook and influence the real world (both influencing self and anyone connected to Facebook)

Theory 2: Foucault

  • Discourse
    • For Foucault discourse is a multifaceted concept, describing both how society communicates and how the communication has changed or stayed the same throughout history. Much like the connection to venting, a person communicates with society through their profile pictures.
      • Profile pictures become a form of discourse, allowing a person but also a community page to communicate a feeling, thought, or image (literally or figuratively) to the individual’s network and the network as a whole (Facebook)
      • People use their profile picture to communicate life events as well, such as changing their profile picture to their wedding photo to announce their marriage or anniversary. A profile picture is often a place to showcase whatever is most important to you, in our personal history, or in the world’s history. When the bombing in France occurred, most profile pictures were adorned with the French flag to show sympathy and support
    • Continuities & Discontinuities
      • How one’s profile pictures change over time, based on aging and maturing
      • Also incorporates the commenting aspect like venting and the “two selves” like CHAT
        • One can view not only how a person has physically changed based on a progression of Facebook profile pictures, but also on the type of photos posted. You can tell that someone has “grown-up” when his profile picture changes from an angsty teen “flipping-off” the camera, to a young man who was accepted to a good college, to an adult who works for a well-known company (perhaps even in a suit or a professional headshot)
        • Profile pictures often bounce between who you want others to see you as (maybe the logo of your favorite band who is also quite popular) to the “real” you (the candid photo of you at a party, laughing and carefree). People often change their profile picture from a “like-inducing” photo (you shot-gunning a beer at a tailgate) to professional photo (you helping out at a local charity or your polish graduation headshot) when looking for a job since potential bosses may look at your page
      • Subject Position:
        • One’s role within the discourse and network, which changes as one ages and matures (or as viewpoints changed based on life experiences)
        • This area echoes CHAT as well. We change our profile picture based on which subject position or section of the revised cannon we wish to be seen in. When you post a profile picture of yourself at the beach (literary activity, something you personally enjoy)à but your at the beach for a polar plunge event (functional system, participating with community)à which will raise money for breast cancer research (Laminated Chronotopes, important to you because someone in our family or network was diagnosed but also important to the world at large), you are defining multiple subject positions you are aligned in.
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