|Kevin Rudd takes a 'selfie' with a high school student|
(Source: AAP/Bob Iddon)
The rise of social media platforms - such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - has given rise to new ways in which people can construct and adapt their very own identity online.
Indeed, all types of people have been involved in this process, from celebrities to everyday people like yours truly - each with varying reasons for doing so.
In a current example, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has utilised new online media to build large followings. Arguably, the most successful of these ventures is Rudd's Twitter page, which has more than 1.39 million followers at the time of writing (Twitter 2013).
Speaking during the recent Australian federal election, Matthew McGregor, a British social media expert who worked for Labor during the recent campaign, said Rudd uses social media to engage - even if this does include some oft-derided 'selfies' (Taylor 2013).
|Conservative: I do my best to ensure content on my Twitter page is appropriate and |
does not negatively reflect on me (Source: Supplied)
Rudd demonstrates engagement in the specular economy through the consciousness of his own public presentations on new online media.
As previously mentioned, Rudd is certainly not alone in this regard.
I, too, am very aware of what content I publish on my social media profiles.
Given my desire for a future career in the media - and, also, not wishing to be seen as unintelligent, immature or, even, unstable - I find it imperative to protect my public image in as many ways as possible.
In practice, this means an attempt to avoid making comments on Twitter that involve swearing or, furthermore, may be perceived as crude. Whilst, on my Facebook page, I ensure photos of myself are mostly respectful or tactful, and that comments I post are grammatically correct. Recently, I even unliked numerous pages which could be seen as distasteful.
Although the gap in followers between celebrities like Kevin Rudd and everyday people like myself are quite substantial, it is evident we all share some degree of consciousness over how we present ourselves, particularly when it comes to online media.
Marshal, P.D 2010, ‘The Specular Economy’, Society, vol. 47, no. 6, pp. 498-502.
Taylor, L 2013, 'Coalition digital campaign 'slick' but Rudd selfies more engaging', The Guardian, 11 September, retrieved 12 September 2013, <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/digital-campaigns-coalition-and-labor>.
Twitter 2013, 'Kevin Rudd', retrieved 12 September 2013, <https://twitter.com/KRuddMP>.
Walsh, L & Black, R 2013, 'Finding the missing youth vote', The Conversation, 14 August, retrieved 12 September 2013, <https://theconversation.com/finding-the-missing-youth-vote-16958>.