PCA: Typology of FB Profile Pics

”Exploring the Phenomenon of Self-Representation and Identity Performance in Social Networking Sites: A Typology of Facebook Profile Pictures”
Macey Freudensprung, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Working on paper at beginning of thesis. Very much in beginning.

This would have been a live blogging of the session, if I had been able to get an internet connection.

interested in performance of social identity
draw on studies of how fb profiles have shifted
communal space, individuals perform a specific self based on previously est social roles and expectations
interested in the pictures

background info on history of photography
formulate a framework of the type of photography
brief discussion on neuroscience to explain facts behind my arguments
create a system of categorization (female images(
pleasure and play in images

thesis: systematic order of a semiotic typology of female pictures

Photos were calling cards… trace of the body… gave you agency and power…

Dominant conventions of self-portraiture

Sekula: phot discourse, system of relations

Ways of seeing
Gunther Kress
1. make the change to another self or body to be photographs
2. remain in a state of constant awareness in regards of how to attract the attention of the viewers
Tulley: female fb members are fully aware that images are viewd by mass-audiences, choose images that are viewer-friendly and will represent them in an appealing way

Typology of images:
According to Kress =
communicative space
each group shows social relationship
each choice made by awareness of social relationship
each choice creates power through choice

Ellis: When I maintain my fb pg, I select a me to project to the world

–represents herself with a picture of her children instead of one of self

  • reason people would do this is more comfortable with this aspect of life
  • or aspect of life most comfortable with or most proud of

–genre of images that display the member as a working woman, career driven

  • definitely directs audience’s attitudes.
  • semiotic work has been done for the viewers

Party girl
–a genre of images that depicts the female as one who is likely to party and participate in
wild and/or
compromising and/or
vulnerable behaviors

  • negative consequences, negative portrayals

–member chooses older photograph of them in the past
identifying with a previous self

  • far beyond “commonsense awareness”
  • body that they are consciously trying to reveal

–genre of married self, wedding pictures mostly

  • part of a whole
  • possibility of choice is constructed by viewers engagement
  • image is engaging with other fb members

–viewer cannot decipher the identity of the female due to a lack of content in the image

  • allows for open, non-guided interpretation
  • ex: dog, eye, flower, garden
  • power of having self available, back

—simple minimally distracting portraiture of themselves

  • female identification
  • have and do not have agency at the same time (why not?)
  • leaving them open to audience but not limiting their thoughts

self-portraiture without background…

semiotically an exhibition is a relationship
pedagogically an exhibition is an effect?

pleasure and play:
not a lot of research on images, research has been all done on text
talk about the idea that the members play with the viewers and the viewers play back

Hum: certain online performances may be not be equally enjoyed by the viewer

conclusion: by selecting a fb picture, literally “playing” a role in constructing their identitities according to social, cultural, and xxx expectations


?comic character
?changing images of same fb folks

hint at rhetorical strategy—picture is not preserving a moment, it is for creating a fb, change in technology changes rhetoric of picture in terms of immediacy versus holding on to something…
How does that go into our everyday lives?

albums, taking pics to go online, not trip preservation, but so I can say something about myself

developing more into source of ego and self-aggrandizement, want to project image, mention earlier… how do you feel about image shifting and sniffing? deconstruction of self, myriad of presentations of self, politics of choice… choice allows deconstruction to happen on a personal level

focus on females “perfectly fine” Why just females? Started to do both. Not male. When I started… my first profile picture. Why did I pick this picture? asked people… couldn’t figure out reasoning behind men picking their pictures

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