Just A Taste

Just A Taste

In his article “Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances,” Hugo Liu talks about how focused we are on profile-centric sites, like MySpace.  These sites give users the opportunity to create an identity.  Profile-centric sites are engineered for self-presentation by providing pre-determined categories, like fill-in boxes on MySpace, helping our friends list to find out about us easily.

Liu also discusses using social media to convey our “taste statements.”  He lists four types: prestige, differentiation, authenticity, and theatrical.  Prestige is when the user has a coherent set of tastes deemed important in a mainstream pop culture, or within a subculture, like within the hip-hop world.  Differentiation is when the user has a unique taste profile.  They usually stand out from the crowd.  Authenticity is taste statement that describes a user who does not try too hard when creating a profile.  Their profiles are usually full of imperfections.  Theatrical is an obvious performance.  This kind of taste statement is over the top and artificial.  It never really feels like the user is showing their true self.  When it comes to creating a profile, it is hard to decide whether you want to post the “best” version of yourself, or the “real” you.  Many users choose to only post what will help them get ahead, whether it is socially or professionally.

Today, profile-centric sites are not as popular, instead media-centric sites are more widely used.  Unlike profile-centric sites, they require regular updates and posts.  Profile-centric sites are not updates as frequently.  They are usually filled in one time with information that for most users remains the same over time.  Popular media platforms today like instagram, snapchat, and twitter show a shift in our use of social media.  We have a new obsession with constantly posting and updating others.  We can’t help but post a picture of what we are eating, whom we are with and what we are thinking at any and most moments of the day.  Since our switch in media site use, Liu’s taste statements have also changed to fir the new media-centric sites.

In her article “17 Reasons Why The Kids Don’t Like Facebook Anymore,” Katla McGlynn says that Facebook is no longer popular for teens and college students; instead, it has been taken over…by our parents!  Facebook is now a public forum, and the perfect place to embarrass family members.  The list of reasons include: your parents and grandparents are now on Facebook, your song lyrics are no longer cryptic, your mom is in on the dirty jokes, your family sees your flirting attempts, your mom’s embarrassing misuse of abbreviations, and awkwardly realizing that your parents may be funnier than you.

(Screenshot taken by author)

(Screenshot taken by author)


(Screenshot taken by author)

(Screenshot taken by author)

Once your parents actually do learn how to use Facebook properly, they end up posting embarrassing photos of you in some weird outfit.


(Screenshot taken by author)

(Screenshot taken by author)

Even with just a few of these reasons, it’s no winder that “kids” prefer other media sites to Facebook.  How the user decides to use social media sites reflects how they are evolving as a person, and how they want their online identity to evolve as well.  Choosing to use new sites may not just be because older sites like Facebook have unwanted, and maybe even nightmare readers.  The users just may be looking for something new and simple.  Instagram, and Twitter do not require much maintenance.  These kinds of sites allow you to post whatever you want.  People post pictures of their cats, a selfie, their dinner and anything in-between.  As opposed to profile-centric sites, which restrict a lot of the information that is shared, and who can see what you have posted.

Having media multiplexity allows users to communicate with people on multiple media formats, creating stronger ties.  So maybe it isn’t that we don’t like Facebook anymore, maybe we just wanted another place to post another thought.  Many people have different friends and followers depending on the site.  They could be censoring what they on Facebook, but not in their tweet.

We are constantly revising, in light of new knowledge and technology…or in light of a new haircut and some god looking salad.  We are in a chronic state of revision that just does not fit into profile-centric sites.  Our tastes communicate where we fit in the social world.  The site we use may also communicate our taste development.  We are constantly changing and we need a social network site that can show us “in action.”  It’s no surprise that “kids” are trying to separate themselves from older users who are new to the game of sites like Facebook.  We are a net generation, so it is no shock that as new social platforms are created, we immediately switch our loyalties.


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