Instant Validation: Testing Identity in Facebook
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Identity has been frequently conceptualized as a set of attributes a person processes (Faith 2007:3). However, the cyber-world of Facebook has brought a new focus of how people construct their identities online, demonstrating that identity is not just a process or list of attributes, but rather a dramatic performance in which one's identity never remains static - it is constantly undergoing construction (Ethier and Deaux 1994:243). According to Sociologist Erving Goffman, performance is "all the activity of a given participant on a given occasion which serves to influence in any way any of the other participants" (Goffman 1959:15). With this in mind, the concept of identity in Goffman's view is a performance that is deliberately engaged in,but not a constant conscious perception (Faith2007:4). Because of its easy-to-use and fast-paced digital features, Facebook has become an efficient tool in this form of identity exploration in which users actively engage in the social discourse of instant validation (i.e.publishing one's image in hopes of receiving instant and positive feedback). While instant validation can occur both online and offline,it is important to explore whether Facebook has changed the way people engage in that behavior.Furthermore, I will examine how instant validation is played in Facebook, and determine how it is used in online identity construction.