Social Media & “The Liquid Self”

Sociologist Nathan Jurgenson argues that social media should be fluid, rather than having users choose which parts of themselves to permanently put on display. As Snapchat’s resident researcher, Jurgenson advocates that people should be free to share fleeting moments of their lives.

“The default of requiring social media users to permanently record and display themselves damages the invaluable importance of identity play. Put differently: many of us desire social media that is less like the mall and more like a park. Being far less standardized, constrained, and policed, yes, the park is somewhere you might do something a little dumb. Knees get scraped. But mistakes shouldn’t be fully avoided, which is what dominate, permanent social media demand, resulting in constant over-anxiety about what’s being posted. A healthy corrective to existing social media would be to create platforms that provide more room to behave without that behaviour always defining who one is and what one can do.”

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