Only some strips of reality: question from class


PROF’s question in class, based on Arjun Appadurai’s “strips of reality” concept: If people could see what and how you engage with media, what would that tell them about who you are, about what you value? 

MY ANSWER: a limited, fractional view about who I am and what I value

RATIONALE:  People can perceive a limited sliver about who I am based on media usage and engagement, at least, so far in my life. My professional life is not completely public like some tech personalities (i.e. Kevin Rose, Pete Cashmore) whose professional accomplishments and activities are documented and followed by many people on the web.  Neither is my personal life, and what facets people may read or see about me are still only tiny “strips,” which taken piece-meal, give a very skewed version of “me.”

Example #1:

I posted something a fews weeks ago on my personal blog about watching HBO’s True Blood and following some blogs and podcasts about the show. I also started following one of those blogs on twitter.

Based on these facts, someone may conclude that I am a vampire freak and goth and really into horror and blood and sex.  

Example #2:

On FaceBook, I “like” a Baptist church group in Burnaby. Based on this affinity, someone may conclude that I am a Bible-thumping, right wing fundamentalist Christian. 


More and more on the web, people have public and private versions of selves, though the younger generation are seemingly more careless, or are still figuring out what those distinctions are. In consideration of this new reality that we work and engage in, I am conscientiously piecing together a more realistic, holistic public self by updating my LinkedIn profile, paying attention to what I write in the “about me” sections of various social and blog sites, creating a personal landing page ( where I can choose what public pages about me people can link to and find if they care to, and by carefully reviewing and tweaking privacy settings on other sites. 

But I am aware that my public self is also somewhat constructed, since I am selecting what I want to make known.  I mean, people can always try and dig up dark and secret things about people or even falsify them. But to the extent that I can control what is put out on the net about me, the more I can feel okay about the line between private/public and about which “strips” get known.