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Reading: Demanding Connectivity: The Performance of ‘True’ Identity and the Politics of Social Media

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Demanding Connectivity: The Performance of ‘True’ Identity and the Politics of Social Media

Author:

Grant Bollmer

School of English and Media Studies, Massey University, New ZealandNone
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Abstract

Why should we desire political connection? And what happens when connectivity becomes a prerequisite for entry into the political? This essay argues that the demand to connect comes with the normalization of a model of citizenship. In this model, individuals are compelled to properly manage network connections and information flows or else be rendered unworthy of inclusion in the social. Those who are marked as unable to manage connections are rendered subjects that must be excluded for the operation of the political. Current debates about social media and political action reduce democracy and the political to little more than the ‘freedom of speech’ and the associated ‘freedom to connect’. Through the examination of the controversy surrounding the blog ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’, I claim that the current formation of social media demands the fixing of identity and a willingness to ‘transparently’ divulge all personal information to others. Disregarding the often tortuous negotiations of publicity and privacy necessary for the political action of marginal populations and identities, the demand to connect requires subjects to submit to a uniform ideal of openness. Those who refuse to agree to the demand to connect are rendered morally impoverished and undeserving of acknowledgement as citizens.
How to Cite: Bollmer, G., (2012). Demanding Connectivity: The Performance of ‘True’ Identity and the Politics of Social Media. JOMEC Journal. (1), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2012.10220
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Published on 01 Jun 2012.
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