In developing my web presence I wanted to reveal another side of myself not previously shown online, at the same time ensuring that this new representation of me would not damage my reputation. “Our reputation is one of our most cherished assets” (Solove, 2007). We present ourselves differently depending on where we are and who we are with (Marwick & boyd, 2010) and how we present ourselves in these situations and manage the impression we make on others affects our acceptance in the community both online and offline. (Goffman, 1959)
I decided that my collection of photos and videos from the recent Lady Gaga concert in Perth would be my focus and I would create a fan web presence. I was aware that as my online identity is created and content distributed across the Internet that I would not be the only one in control of my data (Dyson, 2008a) or the creation of my identity, so I opted to use the pseudonym “I’m a Little Monstr” as my online identity, allowing me to retain a certain amount of privacy in a public arena (boyd, 2012) and creating a separation from my current online identity. Presenting this different “me” also allows me to identify with fellow fans of Lady Gaga who are known as “Little Monsters. I used one of my own photographs to create the profile and background images to be added to all the nodes in my web presence. I manipulated the original image making it multi coloured and bright, which I felt connected with the image portrayed by Lady Gaga.
Selecting to use a blog as my central node will give me that opportunity to “speak freely” and have complete control of the content I would be sharing. (boyd, 2006)
Wordpress offered me ease of use, flexibility and tools I needed to create and customise my blog. I selected the theme Mystique which features a header with quick switching tabs containing links to RSS and social network sites making it easy to connect to my contributing nodes. Adding widgets to the side bar and footer brought a small selection of content from the contributing nodes to the blog. I also I added another set of links to my contributing nodes in the sidebar and the ability to subscribe to the blog by email. I activated the theme options that create an iPad and mobile device view of the blog, giving me control on how I present myself and who can view my content. (Dyson 2008b) I modified the profile image and created a background that are only seen on an iPad. I added the My Networks page so all the links to my contributing nodes are accessible when the blog is viewed on an iPad. The YouTube button provides a link to a playlist of videos; this is not a contributing node but simply a link to my personal account and related content.
When selecting my contributing nodes I discovered that Lady Gaga had recently become the first person to have 25 million followers on Twitter (France-Presse, 2012) this was one place online where her fans connected with her and each other and became the choice for my first contributing node. Using the same social networking sites where fans connect is important, I wanted to connect with them and be where they are. As Helmond (2010) states “each social networking site serves a different purpose and has different user demographics. Social network migration is common because you are there, where your friends are.” I have been using Twitter for a few years and tweeted from my personal account about my new “I’m a Little Monstr” account and several people followed the new account. I like the way messages are instant and the restriction to 140 characters means that I will connect and tweet several times a day. Using Twitter to connect with other fans and as a platform for self-promotion of my blog requires a careful balance of conversation and links to blog posts so that I was not seen as spamming my account. “Twitter’s popularity is global and the social network of its users crosses continental boundaries” (Java, Finin, Song & Tseng, 2007)
The second contributing node I created was for the photo sharing site Flickr, which facilitates the tagging and sharing of images and connecting with other users. Uploading photos to Flickr can be done on a computer or mobile phone, the ability to upload photos “on the go” was appealing and being able to feed photos through to the blog made the distribution of my content easy. I could also post a copy of photos from Instagram to Flickr, making then visible to view outside the Instagram app.
Further investigation revealed that Lady Gaga fans were also connecting on Pinterest. So I chose to add Pinterest as my third contributing node. Pinterest is an online pinup board. Here I created several boards and connected with other fans, pinned my photos and blog posts and also managed to pin my videos from YouTube. I also pinned online articles of that related to my theme of Lady Gaga and repined other fans pins.
Even though I had my three contributing nodes completed I added three extra nodes. I added Instagram and connected with other fans within the Instagram app and added a link to this on the blog. I created a Facebook fan page and added a tab to feed the content from each node. This provides another way for people to connect with me and distributes all my web presence content in one place, to different audiences. The addition of a separate About.me page provides another central place to find all my online content and incoming links to my web presence.
The web 2.0 platforms that I selected all work together to support my online identity and web presence. They provide the ability for content to be tagged and shared with others, meaning that visitors to my blog, photos or pins can share my content with their social network and friends and this in turn increases the distribution of my content and online identity across the web (Helmond, 2010). Adding the same profile image and background to all the nodes in my web presence presented a consistent theme and made it easily identifiable that they all belonged to the same online identity. Bearing in mind how a new web presence could impact on my current online identity I am confident that my reputation will stay intact and digital trails will not over shadow my real identity.” (Albrechtslund, 2008)
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