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Saturday, September 27 • 13:00 - 14:00
Panel 1B: "Visualizing the Self, Gazing the Life: Our Privately Public Self" (Fishbowl style) - Please read the attached Information Letter.

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This panel will be conducted in the fishbowl style, encouraging attendees to take part in the conversation.

This fishbowl session will be used to conduct research by the panel organizers. The study intends to investigate the effectiveness of the fishbowl method in facilitating dialogues, interactions and knowledge co-construction among researchers with shared interests. There will be a note taker keeping fieldnotes of the discussion that occurs during the session, without collecting any identifying information of the participants. Fieldnotes will be used to reflect on flows and dynamics of the session in a future paper. At the end of the session, we will ask you to complete an anonymous paper survey to provide feedback. This survey will not request name or other information that will identify you. 

Anyone can attend this panel without being included in the study. 

The study received the ethics approval from the University of Guelph Research Ethics Board .

Please read the information letter for more details. 


This panel begins with the premise that image-making is becoming a central component of social life online. Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and other image-sharing social media are constantly growing in users and importance.  Concurrently, an increasing amount of communication on Facebook and Twitter happens through images. We live in a world where the visuals – GPOY (Gratuitous Photo Of Yourself), selfies, family photographs, cultural references, digital snapshots, and medical images (e.g., ultrasound pictures, CT scans) shape the way we know our life and perform our self. Within the visual social media landscape, images serve as a crucial conduit for and reflection of our identity.  Visualizing the private self via social media constitutes both our public and private self simultaneously.

This panel consists of four connected presentations, all of which focus on how one’s private life – the otherwise hidden, labeled, humorous, or subversive self – is visualized through social media for public consumption. Based on each presenter’s original empirical research, the panel explores interconnections of the self, subjectivity, identity, community, visuality, digital media, embodied technologies, and materiality. Both individually and collectively, our panel intends to: 1) provide current examples of visual self-expression on social media often portrayed colloquially as ridiculous or narcissistic, but are suggestive of innovative modes of identity practices; 2) comment on the processes through which private images transform into cultural and symbolic artifacts, while becoming forms of performative, public identity; and 3) inspire spirited discussion among presenters and the audience attending the panel.

In her presentation “I have seen you naked – platform affordances, audience segregation and impression management on tumblr and Facebook,” Katrin Tiidenberg explores trans-platform communication around selfies. Based on three years of ethnographic work with a community of self-shooters, Tiidenberg looks at how people read each other’s visual content (images and selfies) on Tumblr and Facebook.  On Tumblr, these informants post sexual, (semi-)nude selfies, bringing their gender, embodiment, and sexuality into the forefront. On Facebook, their content most often emphasises the roles and social statuses as parents and professionals.  Based on visual discourse analyses of seven informants’ Facebook and Tumblr presence and interviews, Tiidenberg explores the relational being (Gergen, 2009) at the intersection of platform affordances and audience segregation strategies (Goffman, 1959).

In her presentation “ ‘On the Skin Teared’ Affective Reproduction of Self-Injury Online,” Yukari Seko discusses photographic expression of self-injury (SI) as a mode of embodied, subversive self-expression that challenges dominant psychomedical norms. The memory of self-harm captured on photography provokes anxiety concerning human suffering on the part of viewers, while at the same time, suggests a promise of autobiographical reification and a paradoxical potential of self-aestheticization. Using visual rendering of self-suffering on Flickr as a case study, Seko aims to ignite discussion on various boundaries that are transgressed via the act of online visual self-expression, including the boundaries separating private and public content, body and mind, as well as the virtual and the real.

In her presentation “Public Identification Based on Place: Visual Discourses of Alabama-Based Belonging Within Online Social Network Sites,” Jenny Korn focuses on place-based homophily as a way to form community (Lazarsfeld and Merton, 1954; McPherson, Smith-Lovin, and Cook, 2001).  Counter to historian expectations, as the Internet has brought together people globally, individuals have asserted their geographic identity as a way to form community in online contexts that are characterized by geographical dispersion in which place is not easily observable (Rosen, Lafontaine, and Hendrickson, 2011). Korn analyzes visual discourses of images depicting Alabama-based belonging as cultural representation (Harner, 2001), location iconography (Blake, 2002), and public symbols (Davidson and Entrikin, 2005). She finds that in an Internet space that enables transgressions across physical boundaries, users return to symbols of place around which to revive familiar notions of identity.


Jenny Korn

University of Illinois at Chicago
http://gplus.to/JennyKorn http://facebook.com/JenKorn http://twitter.com/JennyKorn http://myspace.com/JennyKorn http://linkedin.com/in/jennykorn Editorial Assistant, New Media & Society, #1 communication journal ranked by Google Scholar


Jenny Korn

University of Illinois at Chicago
http://gplus.to/JennyKorn http://facebook.com/JenKorn http://twitter.com/JennyKorn http://myspace.com/JennyKorn http://linkedin.com/in/jennykorn Editorial Assistant, New Media & Society, #1 communication journal ranked by Google Scholar

Yukari Seko

University of Guelph, Canada
avatar for Katrin Tiidenberg

Katrin Tiidenberg

Associate Professor, Tallinn University

Saturday September 27, 2014 13:00 - 14:00
TRS 1-003 Ted Rogers School of Management

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