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Social Media Archeology and Poetics$
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Judy Malloy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034654

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034654.001.0001

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Pseudo Space: Experiments with Avatarism and Telematic Performance in Social Media

Pseudo Space: Experiments with Avatarism and Telematic Performance in Social Media

(p.377) 26 Pseudo Space: Experiments with Avatarism and Telematic Performance in Social Media
Social Media Archeology and Poetics

Antoinette LaFarge

The MIT Press

The history of social media has been marked by arguments over two central issues: markers of identity and degrees of participation. The battle over identity has largely focused on the legitimacy of experimenting with personal and social identity through pseudonymous ‘avatars’. The argument over agency has centered on whether participants should be tightly corralled or given full programming power to change the structures of social media itself. These issues are linked through widespread distrust of pseudonymous agency and the suspicion -- fueled by recent controversies over ‘trolling’ -- that people will tend to participate disruptively, and that such disruptions are necessarily problematic. In this chapter, the author argues for a different view, suggesting that artists have led the way in demonstrating the creative potential of pseudonymous agency in social media. Among the fruits of deep participation in social media are new ways of telling stories, understanding identity itself, and engaging with improvisation as a central rather than peripheral creative activity.

Keywords:   Social Media - History, Social Media - Identity, Social Media - Creative Practice, Avatars, Improvisation

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