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Rembrandt, c. 1629. Master of selfies

For centuries, the rich and the powerful documented their existence and their status through painted portraits. A marker of wealth and a bid for immortality, portraits offer intriguing hints about the daily life of their subjects — professions, ambitions, attitudes, and, most importantly, social standing. Such portraits, as German art historian Hans Belting has argued, can be understood as “painted anthropology,” with much to teach us, both intentionally and unintentionally, about the culture in which they were created. source

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Kendall Jenner in May 2015. From Rettberg.

Readings: Blogging and Identity

The latitude allowed a weblogger, over time, to unfold the many aspects of his or her life and personality, and to do so in the same space in which they offer commentary on politics and culture, is a luxury not afforded to journalists or even novelist.... This is not to say, however, that the self presented on a weblog is a “complete” or even an accurate one: just as in journalism, memoir, or fiction, decisions are made about what to include and what to exclude. The weblogger, in that sense, can be read as fictional, as a character, in precisely the same ways that Andy Rooney or James Joyce can be....Himmler

Blogs have become a main site for identity construction and performance. So much so that there's a flood of sources and readings and examples. Perhaps every blog can be seen in the light of identity performance. The aim in these readings (pick and choose, add) is to complicate the simplistic idea that we have an essential identity that we use to present a self on line that is more or less aligned with our identity off-line. Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, gives as a far more dynamic and subtle way of thinking about identity as performance.

I've focused mainly on work by dana boyd and Jill Walker Rettberg. They know their stuff.

Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism

Seeing Ourselves rough Technology, Rettberg. PDF of complete open source book. Chap 1 is a good start.

Representation or Presentation, Rettberg looks at how Kendall Jenner does identity performance.


Templated Identity Construction, Davis. Brief blog post asking a big question.

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Goffman. PDF of book.

Representations of Digital Identity, boyd et al

Am I a Blogger, boyd

Constructing academic alter-egos: identity issues in a blog-based community, Vanessa Paz Dennen

Academic blogging, academic practice and academic identity, Gill Kirkup

I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience, Marwick and boyd

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