Some users are so entranced and consumed by their online communities and social media that these platforms begin to substitute as human interaction. Therefor, the only aspects of their “friends” lives that they are aware of are the ones they observed online. What once was “Jeff really likes SubWay, he told me last week,” has become “Jeff really likes Subway. I know because I saw he liked their Facebook page.” These online interactions act as a suitable replacement for real contact, due to their authenticity. This authenticity derives from the production of bodies and space online. “But Nick, how can a body or space be formed on the Internet?” Well extremely corny Segway, I’ll try and paint a vivid picture. You see, the Internet is embodied by a plethora of imagined communities. An imagined community is community that is not based off of and does not require every day face-to-face interaction between its inhabitants. These imagined (online) communities, just as those in real life, have social constructs and basic every day norms. Online, these would be actions such as posting a profile picture, providing “about” information, and liking fan pages. Just like societal norms; many partake in them, while others choose to not. These communities gain a feel of authenticity due to their many surveillance features. Through vlogs, blogs, Instagrams, tweets, statuses, etc. one could be aware of another’s daily routine, without even speaking to them. When accepting that friend request, or following that account, you’re signing a contract to survey that person until the day one of you deletes your account. To put it on a greater scale, the incorporation of sousveillance enhances the online user with an even more advanced sense of authenticity to their experience. With play counts and view trackers, users are aware of the exact amount of times their media has been accessed. This factor has altered sites like YouTube and transformed them into online stages, if you will, where the performer as well as anyone inquiring, may keep track of their viewership.
Another factor contributing to the authenticity of these online communities is that just like real communities, their nature is dependent on their inhabitants. Whether it be a music sharing platform, of vampire chat room, these communities must provide codes of conduct and restrictions that cater to their specific users. An adult rated “hookup” site will have very different restrictions and limits than a family friendly, using that term VERY loosely, such as Facebook. People have become so in tune with online communities, that certain content can trigger real emotions and even offend particular viewers. The creators deem what is “appropriate” and “inappropriate” for their sites based off of their users. Their control is both positive and negative.
Unfortunately in the case of Rupi Kaur, the artist who displayed a picture of herself on Facebook with menstrual blood on her pants, she endured the negative aspect to the creator’s control over content, and felt the true power of bodies and space embodying the Internet. Facebook removed the photo, but later re posted it to Instagram. It’s removal was due to Facebook wishing to portray a specific image to the content they allow. This alone, produces a body and space online. This media alone provided Facebook technicians with the stress of offending users, so much to the point where they deleted the photo. That’s power, if you ask me. The image created space online through it’s condition, the type of body in the image, its description, and Facebook’s Terms of Service contract. Were she not menstruating, the photo would be lost in the thousands that consume the web. Were it a boy with a red stain on his pants, the photo may be interoperated differently, and in a less drastic way. Were it described differently and it was an add for juice, implying the stain on her pants was spilled fruit punch, then the photo would not have had as much of an impact. The body and space it consumed was strictly based on the factors that allowed it to be “controversial”, as some may put it. Of course, these examples can be applied to any photo. Finally, the Facebook Terms of Service contract also plays a huge role into how space exists online. Due to the accept button you probably clicked without reading, Facebook owns your content. That being said, any inappropriate content can be an issue for them. This meaning that Kaur’s photo provided them with a enough stress, that they had to take it down.
Question 1: Do you feel that standard should be placed on social media sites in regards to what is appropriate to post and what is inappropriate? If so, how do you feel this standard should be reached?
Question 2: Have social standards, not those of the website in use, caused you to delete something you once posted online?