BCM 112

Appearance vs Reality Online

“This most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical
roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appeareth nothing
to me by a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.” – Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2.

Through time, society has constantly been made aware of the differences between how something appears and the reality of its property. This issue can be identified as early as the 16th Century in Shakespeare’s Hamlet (as seen above) and has transcended all the way to the 21st Century as seen for example in Alice Boyd’s research paper “To see and Be seen’. To me, the issues transcendence of time implies that people’s presenting of themselves or other things, as different to how they really are, is merely part of an inherent trait of the human condition. Seemingly harmless, people would naturally suppose their own sense of judgement could filter through what is false and what is not.

However, with advancing technologies affording consumers with greater customizability and produsage, this tendency for people to misrepresent (especially themselves) has been perpetuated by the internet’s allowing of those with access to hide behind a computer screen. The prevalence of this issue can be stressed in growing cases of catfishing and online predators and scammers.

As people can mediate what is seen of themselves online, this further incapacitates a user’s ability to differentiate between what is real and what is not; the internet becoming a place of a fairytale, just as much as it is a platform for the truth. But this begs the question: If people can identify the tenuous efforts that go into creating ‘a persona’ of themselves, for example online, why do they blindly rely on the authenticity of presentations of others?

In addressing the idea and issues behind Appearance vs. Reality I have made a YouTube Video (linked below) in which I will be discussing the issue of “to what extent prosumers (aka users of the internet) can trust the persona’s or online personality’s represented and publicised by others.” In short, Appearance vs. Reality Online. Check it out.

You may also like to watch this seven-second vine which also shows Appearance vs. Reality Online.



Additional References:

OBVIOUS. 2016. The new era of microcelebrities. [ONLINE] Available at:http://obviousmag.org/en/archives/2009/08/the_new_era_of_microcelebrities.html. [Accessed 09 May 2016]. (Mentioned in Video).

Hansen, Derek. Shneiderman, Ben. Smith, Marc. 2011. ‘Social Network Analysis: Measuring, Mapping and Modeling Collections of Connections’. Analyzing Social Media Networks. Morgan Kaufman: Burlington. pp.31-50. 

Moore C, ‘Stuff that Tweets’,  Lecture/Prezi Presentation, BCM 112, University of Wollongong, 9 May 2016.

Feature Image.






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