361MC: Research & Development – Online Identities & Fandom

To gain a sense of understanding in regards to developing a YouTube channel for this FMP, it is vital to understand the different and extreme ways in which individuals are able to create an identity of either themselves or a better version/vision through the internet. In this modern world where the ability to live a certain quality of life through the internet has become available, there is the chance that through these ways of living we are becoming more dependant on the virtual reality, when the true reality should become the main focus of self improvement and development. In a social networking perspective it is also imperative to look at the influence that the online identity has on our every day lives, the real possibility of gaining a following and also the grasp the online world has on us as individuals.

The online identity of one person can be completely different to who this person truly is. The internet provides the ability to not only do what you want on the internet, but also be able to establish yourself in the communities and websites that are featured on the internet. These identities are varied to each specific user. Through identifying your identity through the forms of pseudonyms, we are able to generate the ability to create any kind of identity that fits in with who we are as people, or who we would like to be linking into the terms identity exposure or disclosure is also key to understanding the reasons why someone is online. 

Generally speaking, there is no limit to the activity that one person may get up to on the internet. Every individuals intentions differ, especially regarding social media and the networking communities. The main focus of social media is to gain understanding of various elements and express yourself through the form of having yourself someone other than real life. Broadcasting yourself through the form of social media is key in understanding the idea of online identities and how they work.

Through the social media spectrum, there are specific communities that respond to content of various natures and ideas. Becoming more specific towards YouTube and it’s online following, there are a great number of video bloggers who have been able to simply put videos out onto the video sharing website and ultimately find themselves catapulted into online stardom with millions of people tuning in with every new video that they release. The idea is there and the simplicity seems real, but through constant updates of content and the general appeal of certain characteristics and traits finds people the following that they may have never expected.

Online regulations are to this day actually inexistent. We are currently able to simply go on and do anything that we want online, which poses as a threat in terms of the obvious crimes; but creatively it is an exposure and liberating chance to develop an identity through social media forms. The online disinhibition effect is the general lack of rules and regulations, inhibitions that would otherwise be in place if the person was face to face to someone instead. The freedom of the internet is a downfall too, with one of the biggest examples of how online identities gone wrong effect social media and it’s outlook on society is the film and TV show, CATFISH. The show focuses on the intimate relationships that people have on the internet and how they can turn out to be people that aren’t what they say they are, identity management at it’s best here. This is a good example when explaining how social media and the freedom of the internet aka the online disinhibition effect can ultimately provide someone with something completely unexpected and possibly dangerous; especially as the biggest issues with the internet is cyber bullying and it’s main occurrence being within social media.

CATFISH Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMA4x7aXJT0

‘Fandom’ is the term used for the subculture created characterised through common interests and aspirations. The fandom of YouTube is constantly growing, with every new YouTuber who finds their video that projects them into sight; there is the possibility that fans of other videos and other video bloggers will get the chance to see their video. Fandom generally finds it’s feet on social networks and has been able to develop itself through the use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; respectively.

7 steps to building your online identity – www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UlcOX1fZW4

Fandoms by Tyler Oakley – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6lH_r4AsT4

YouTube is designed for social media, it is a form of social networking that works towards the aims of providing it’s users with the ability to express, share and divulge into the world of video sharing and video blogging. The links above are fun examples of how online identities and fandom traits. The number of users who have gained a following for their work is growing with every new app that offers a new way in which to interact with others through social networking. YouTube in particular raised the bar for ways in which to present yourself and your identity to the world. Video blogging is key here to understanding the nature of having an online identity through video blogging itself, or the various other ways to provide content to the website. Any person, business, corporation have the ability and permission to share content onto YouTube and have it available and viewable to anyone throughout the entire world.

These people that are partnered with YouTube ultimately are making money from creating content for YouTube. Facing the reality of becoming more than a simple video blogger means focusing on the outcomes of how people will view the work. Online identities vary to everyone who chooses to use YouTube and other forms of social media as a way in which to express and become a heightened version of themselves. It is here that we are also able to acknowledge the sheer velocity of how much impact a YouTuber can have on media culture and social networking, these are practically celebrities in their own way and have the power to rule social networks through their legions of fans.

Having explored the idea of how fandom and acknowledgment claims fame and pushes online identities into the stratosphere, it can be seen through the work that I have already begun to do in regards to this FMP, that it can get you noticed. Having people who I have never met and also those who I have come up to me regularly to talk about the YouTube videos and the work that I have already started, the most of the planned work has yet to be done and already there is a growing following that is talking and demanding content. The beginning has only just started, so to have that following already is very encouraging. Who knows where this will lead myself and the project as a whole, but from looking into how vital and viable social media is in todays modern world, there is certain promise in the horizon for the FMP as it progresses and develops further.


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