Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Social Media as Performance Art

Erving Goffman is rightly famous for his analysis of social behavior as a species of performance. I wonder what he would have thought of today’s online social media, where the “self” being presented exists only in cyberspace.

I guess it’s not too surprising that “real” fictional characters like Austin Powers and Norman Bates have favorited and replied to tweets of mine. Who knows whether it’s a fanboy or a commercial enterprise behind the effort.

Today, however, things got weird:

What the hell? I’m getting yelled at because I tweeted a news story?

Not exactly. @SmellyOldGuy (tagline “Hey! Get out of my hair”) is a cranky cyber-persona created for the sole purpose of yelling at people who tweet about smelly old guys.

He may not be real, but I already kind of like him.

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