I have been looking at Ryan Reynolds, and much like the rest of the internet I found him hilarious.
But looking at the social media output of Ryan, how much is it Ryan saying all this funny stuff and how much is the Performed Self, like Erving Goffman talk about in his book “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”. Even Ryan Reynolds says something about this, look at his description on twitter:
“Introducing people to the version of myself which tested highest in the focus groups.”
This clearly is funny, he is using sarcasm to deflect the idea that we present only the best sides of ourselves, or is he admitting that we all act differently in different situations. It’s what Erving Goffman talked about as wearing different masks and controlling how we appear. We adapt what we are in different situations.
Ryan Reynolds is an actor, or plays the role of one, he is a dad, he is a lot of different things to different people, and the ting we are discussing here is what is the real Ryan, and for that matter, what is the real version of any of us?
Well Erving, thought that we play different roles for different people, and that we don’t necessarily have a fixed person beneath all that fluff we make up to look good in a certain situation. But he also talks about a back-stage self and a front stage self, the back-stage self is the person you are, and the way you act when you are with people you are comfortable with. The front stage self is the version we present when you don’t know the people you are socializing with. The fallback, the job interview self, the one we use when we need to put our best foot forwards.
Ryan Reynolds wants to look like he is all jokes, and he uses his twitter to front the version of him that is willing to share intimate jokes about his family.
Anyways this is a lot of fumbling without any real thoughts on why I’m saying all this about Ryan. Now we all (probably) agree that the Ryan Reynolds on twitter, or Facebook, or in a parent teacher conference is not the whole and full Ryan Reynolds. Why then, look at twitter and say this, anyone could say:
“he is being funny on purpose!!!!”
I do this, and think its important to do this to figure out if we have one true identity beneath all the other fluff, of the self we have in our minds eye is truly something we control. What if all this, our identity, is a reflection on the people around us and the people we like?
Still the question of why and how our identity is built, especially on the web, and in social media, is one of the most interesting questions in digital humaniora (humanities) today.
And sorry for the clickbait…..
Follow Ryan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VancityReynolds