Self, Self-Presentation, and the Use of Social Applications in Digital Environments

Self, Self-Presentation, and the Use of Social Applications in Digital Environments

José Carlos Ribeiro (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil) and Tarcízio Silva (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2211-1.ch024
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This chapter discusses the use of social applications in the process of the constitution of the self and the production of the self-presentation in digital environments. It examines two modalities: (1) the use of social applications that promote the comparative analysis of actions, speeches, and performance repercussions taken place in the digital environment, and (2) the use of applications and systems that enable the retrieval of the users’ social information in a systematic, sequential, and historical perspective. It also discusses how these applications present users with different methods of monitoring, controlling, visualizing, and planning information that is published not only by individuals themselves but also by the interacting individuals in the social digital environment.
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2. The Constitution Of The Self: Brief Considerations

In general, we may perceive the existence of two approaches that focus on understanding the complex phenomenon of the constitution of the self. The first approach concentrates its efforts on the analysis of the intra-dynamic processes that constitute the cognitive, emotional and behavioral apparatus of individuals. Using this perspective, the combination of these processes shapes the awareness of an essence and, more specifically, of an individual unity recognized by the subject and by others as such. It is the perception and recognition of a private self, consisting of a constellation of features (beliefs, attitudes, values) and internally located processes (perceptual, emotional, cognitive) that help the individual to regard him/herself as an entity in the world and to be situated relative to other people and things in the social environment (Augoustinos & Walker, 2007).

The second approach is particularly concerned with the understanding of the processes that shape the self in a relational perspective in which the interpersonal dynamics provide the ground for its formation. According to this perspective, the self is observed not as an entity solely focused on its private establishment but also, and mainly, on the symbolic aspects formulated and reformulated over the interactional exchanges. The self is socially constituted and changed continuously (Atkinson & Housley, 2003).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Informations: Types of data that are considered significant in social exchanges, such as discursive style, peer social, demographic characteristics, consumption patterns, among others.

Social Network Sites (SNS): Digital sites that allow its users to self-presentation through profiles, connect with others and publish content in multiple formats (pictures, written records, videos).

Self-Presentation: Set of procedures and behaviors performed by individuals in order to control the view that people make about them in socially relevant aspects.

Social Applications: Softwares that use the technical structure and the databases provided by social network sites as the ground for the development of new resources and monitoring activities, communication and entertainment.

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