Identity performance through creative ordering and taste display online

a case study of self-exhibition on Pinterest

seminar presented by Claire Baker PhD Candidate, UNE

31st July 2014

This project aims to explore sociological understandings of identity as a creative performance by knowing subjects and investigates how this is enacted in a particular online space. Situated within theory that posits a creative and reflexive self, this project links theories of performance and taste display to the social media site 'Pinterest', a space that allows the appropriation of web content into user-created categories. Building on an earlier extension of Goffman that applies his ideas of 'presentation of self' to asynchronous exhibitions in online spaces, this project examines the categories within thirty profiles on the site. The findings work to develop ideas of 'primary curation' and 'secondary curation' within the online exhibition of self and develops the idea of a dual function for this self-indicating performance, encompassing both taste display and ordering device, that is presented to a dual audience of both self and other. This project then seeks to establish the value of this identity work, presenting an argument for the application of Giddens' 'dilemmas of the self' as a useful theoretical starting point for understanding the value of this action for users.