What does it mean to be me?

Sociologist Erving Goffman believed that all human interaction was a theatrical performance. In his most famous book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (Amazon), Goffman called his analysis the study of  “Dramaturgy.”

Dramaturgical analysis is the idea that we present an edited version of our selves when we meet others in person.

All the internet’s a stage

The internet, of course, adds a new layer of complexity to Goffman’s perspective. If social media is edited real life, then our dramaturgical action is the physical extension of it. We are no less authentic online than we are in person.

Goffman’s theory builds on American sociologist Charles Cooley’s ‘The Looking Glass Self’ theory. In 1902, he contextualized the individual:

“I imagine your mind, and especially what your mind thinks about my mind, and what your mind thinks about what my mind thinks about your mind.”

Keep in mind that people didn’t even think of themselves as individuals before the spread of mirrors in the 15th century.

We juggle identities online and off but each of us has a fixed character. It is our friends and family members and Google that know our truest self.

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Published by wells baum aka bombtune

A daily blogger who connects the dots between beats, culture, and technology.

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2 Comments

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  1. Glad you enjoyed it! Let me look into that reblog feature ✌️

  2. Well, this stuff is right down my alley given that I’m writing about my own personas and characters on the stage of my life. The link through to the book is great; I’ll have to check it out.

    I’d love to reblog this particular post but either you don’t allow that (which is fine) or I don’t see the reblog button. Let me know. And thanks for this.

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