[PROGRAM_3: Have people I just met create a day in my life through Instagram Stories. The invitation sent to them was the following:
Take a moment to make a collection of things you know and feel about me. It doesn’t matter if that is not a lot, just try to focus on three or four aspects among things you have perceived in me, things you’ve seen and/or heard from me, and things that you feel/think about me. You don’t have to tell me what they are, so be honest. Through which eyes do you think I see the world?
We will set a day in this week, and in that day at midnight you’ll receive my Instagram password. Your task is to create a day in my life through my Instagram Stories. Stop for a few moments in your day, and try looking at your present moment from the perspective you created for me, documenting it in my stories. Please don’t make it too clear that you are not me, but it also doesn’t have to be extremely credible, so feel free to do whatever you feel like adjusts to this program you are now receiving.
You have 24 hours, and you can post as much or as little as you want, as long as you participate. I’ll also be online, interacting through direct messages and maybe even posting in dialog to the things you did.
Let me know if you have any questions, but the whole idea is for it to be open enough for things to emerge on the go.
Thanks a lot, and have fun.]
Following the PROGRAM_2, I had six people posting on my Instagram stories in the last week. This time, I needed people that knew me for a shorter period of time, but since I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with this exploration, it was very difficult to define the guidelines for who to invite. In the end, I did it based on whether I felt comfortable asking or was intrigued by what they would post. So, I sent a vague message asking for help in the next week, and I sent the actual program for those who accepted before knowing what it was about. Again, I scheduled a date with each of them to receive my password, and they had 24h to post whatever they felt like, based on the scores.
I won’t go over each day this time, because the amount of posts (85 for both weeks) let emerge other questions that I am most interested in. Also, many of the collaborators commented with other people about it, so the interactions in this week were not as interesting. Anyways, you can see all the posts divided by day in my featured stories in Instagram, under mmd #00.
Considering the gathered materials, I categorized the posts into recurring tags, and made a spreadsheet to see what patterns emerged. I had a lot of trouble figuring out what to tag, since most of the categories felt very personal. For example, in the beginning I would use the tag “affective” as a way to define things that the friend posted knowing that those are important to me and/or things that represent affection between each other, such as a picture of my brother saying I miss him, or a cover of an album I gave as a gift to the friend posting. Later on I tried to reframe the tags into things that would be visible for other people that know me. Still, I feel like it corresponds to my interpretations and isn’t at all a “clean” categorization of data.
In total, I had 85 posts, so I separated them into around 30 categories, and deleted the ones that had less than 3 occurrences in at least 2 different people. Considering all the posts, this is what I gathered:
#color and #space occur more than the other because my concept of those is very wide, so most of the posts have interesting color and/or spaces, but the results of texture were really impressive for me. From my point of view, texture is a main element of my way of framing things, so I narrowed my categorization to only posts that have most of the screen in a detailed texture of something, and only two people didn’t have any pictures like it, being one from PROGRAM_2 and the other from PROGRAM_3.
Most of the feedback I received in both rounds relate to the way people see me in a very interesting way, and I am really interested in the intersections between the Marcelas that has been framed and who I believe I am. I will copy some of the thoughts from the last map that are still pulsing, and add what changed since then.
“It was interesting to perceive how affected I was by having publicly said I cooked something with honey, and I when I saw it I was waiting for a vegan friend to comment on it. I was happy that the one that commented was also invited for the program, but apparently he didn’t see my message, so I was confused on whether I should stand by my non-vegan act, or explain it to him. In the end, I just said confusing things and changed the subject.”
“I said “Good morning America #NYC”, and to me this is a big deal. I am always pointing out the way people in the US use this word as if it didn’t mean anything else, and I identified as an American before, but suddenly I was stripped from the meaning of this word, and saying that in Instagram without a context felt like I was accepting this movement.”
This was obviously a position of vulnerability that I was willing to take, so I was sure expecting things like this to happen. What was interesting to me is that, in the second round, people were clearly trying to fit in what they believe to be me, while in the first one they were more open to play with what they perceive as my identity.
How can I play with my own identity in Instagram? How does shame shape my virtual interactions? How much of these information about my personality did my friends assimilate through the way I interact online?
“Bianca knows me since forever, and she also knows a lot about Instagram tools. In her posts I see a lot of what she frames me like, but also of what I am, but I never show online.
She explored the textures a lot, and one of those textures were body hair. Textures are for sure a core characteristic of the way I frame the world, and body textures are specially engaging for me, but I never ever post body textures in Instagram. I do take pictures of interesting textures I find in my body, but I never feel like sharing this publicly, just as I wouldn’t post any other thing that I understand as intimate. When I saw that, I felt an emergency to publicly explore my body texture and all the other intimate things that I sometimes think about sharing and don’t. I guess I just can’t find a good enough reason to share this kind of things, and when I saw it under my account, I thought “I already did it, it happened, now I can do whatever I want”.”
This is still pulsing in me very intensely. I want to spend some time exploring the things that I think about posting and never do. What are my limits in social media? How does the ephemeral aspect of the stories change my interactions?
[PROGRAM_4: Randomly assign the categories in pairs and create stories based on that.]
[PROGRAM_5: Post private photos to my stories, test how far my dignity can go.]
[PROGRAM_6: Copy some of the stories my friends chose for me, and create new days based on reframing their frame on my personality.]