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Raquel Hamm
Professor Azeem
ENG114B
REVISED: Personal Space & Technology
Based on the notion that were always being watched, we tend to change how we present
ourselves online. Usually, individuals on social media sites have the tendency to perform an act
that is a new state of their selves. In other words, act differently than their normal selves. Social
media has altered peoples concept of personal space, in order to have the opportunity to reshape
their identities. Not only does devices reform peoples personalities, but also the space around
them take part of how people represent themselves. The space around people makes them be
controlled in the environment, but its really up to each individual to figure out how to control
internal distractions on social sites. Social media has changed peoples concept of personal space
through privacy from social media sites, interpellation of social space, and panopticisim.
Personal space has been removed because privacy is no longer a part of social sites such
as: Facebook and Twitter. Most of the time when we have multiple tabs open with different
things we are looking at, the sites tend to have ad pop ups of what we were just glancing at on a
whole different site. For example, you can have Facebook open and just closed a tab of Nike.com
and once you begin scrolling down on Facebook, Nike shoe ads will show. In "Public Displays
of Connection" by Judith Donath and Danah Boyd, they discuss about how online social
networking make people accustomed to thinking of the on-line world as the social space. Most
networking sites share similar interpersonal links that creates other visible network of
connections. Judith Donah states that social networking sites will support and enable a new

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model of technology, however, it's diminishing the role of social life in everyday life. The display
of connection actually means that high status may deliberate to impress the listener of the
speaker's ability to effect action. "As society becomes increasingly dynamic, with access to
information playing a growing role, having many diverse connections will be key" (Donah 34) .
In other words, seeing someone within the context of their connections provides the viewer with
information about them.
The idea of personal space has made us become interpolated into the social norm to
follow that is reproduced in our technology. People conform in order be cool when active on
social sites to represent their selves as similar to others in modern society. Being on social media,
Instagram in particular, people re-post trendy pictures or videos that are really not their own, just
take part of the social forum. In my experience, Ive noticed that this is a way people present
themselves because they know their being watched by followers on social sites. This affects our
identity because people try to fit in and not be true to their selves. Being online, it gives you the
power to be whoever you choose to be, whether its real or not. When people post pictures and/
or videos, it affects how people care about what others think of them. By believing the number of
likes you have, the more famous you are. Certain popular techniques Ive observed people used
are, posting pictures or videos at a fixed time where an individual knows that their followers are
most likely online to like the posts. In Always-on/Always-on-you: The Tethered Self, Turkle
addresses how we are influenced through the language of technology. Also, we lose a piece of
ourselves being compelled with the intimacy of machines. We are witnessing a new form of
sociality in which the isolation of our physical bodies does not indicate a lack of connectedness
but may be its precondition. (Turkle 137) In other words, people are connected to their devices
more than connecting with others, socially. This is due to lack of communication with people

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because its easier to pretend to be someone that youre not. People are insecure because people
feel the need of importance to be a part of a community.
Often many people are self-aware about the followers they have on social sites that look
at their posts. However, people should be more observant how government sees everything more
than just a follower. While people are so in tuned of whats hot and trendy for the week, they are
unaware that what theyre posting is being monitored in a higher panoptic criticism perspective.
People assume that when theyve cleared their browsing history it will be forever erased. But in
reality, people who access, whether it is a hacker or the government, will still have those files
you thought were erased. For instance, if you right-click on the Google Chrome icon, there is
an option to open up an incognito search browser. This search browser allows a person to
search the World Wide Web without having their history being saved. However, before searching
the web, the browsers notifies that going incognito doesnt hide your browsing from your
employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit. This is a perfect example how
the government keeps tracks of what everyone is doing every time people on their devices.
Being online is known for your own space of doing the things that make you happy such
as: surfing the web, going on social media, shopping, playing games, etc. The ostensible purpose
of participants creating self-descriptive profiles on social websites is to make friends, dates, and
business connections. Social media is a great form of communication that connects you to family
members, long-lost friendships, form relationships, potential careers, etc. The chance to connect
with people while miles apart, to stay aware of whats occurring throughout the world or, for
some, making social media the sole reason for existing. As well as, helping people who are
socially awkward or shy connect with other people online.

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However, technology should be one of the main reasons why personal space is fading
away. In this generation, people are accustomed to technology all the time. People have a
difficult time going even a day without their devices. For example, when eating at the dinner
table with family, both adolescents and adults have the tendency to engage in technological
advances with others, rather than communicating verbally with each other. Also, during social
gatherings people become more interested on what they put on their statuses to entertain
themselves than communicating with peers around them. As I previously said, many individuals
devote most of their attention to online social media sites because theyre more focused on
unnecessary topics. In the article, Why Do We Have Personal Space? Natalie Wolchover, she
addressed how our there are times when personal space intrusions are simply unavoidable, such
as in a crowded party. We do it by temporarily dehumanizing those around us, avoiding eye
contact and pretending they're inanimate until the moment comes when we spot an escape route.
On the social media application, Snapchat, people act like they are having the best time of their
lives, when theyre only doing it for attention and boosting their self-esteem.
In our narcissistic generation, people take selfies anywhere, at any time because they care
about how they physically look towards others, rather than theyre personalities being ignored.
Technology is often said to beneficial resource for everyone to use, however, it can negatively
affect peoples concept of personal space. In which, social sites offer an alternative for people to
pose as whoever they want. Furthermore, the space surrounding individuals sometimes
determines how people shall act. People behave differently in certain situations that affect who
they are and how they present themselves towards others. But now we live in an online world as
well as a physical one. At the same time that its brought us closer, technology has invaded
peoples privacy, exacerbating concerns and sensitivities.

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Work Cited

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~ Donath, Judith, and Danah Boyd. "Public Displays of Connection." (E) Dentity. 1st ed.
Southlake: Fountainhead, 2011. 1-202. Print.
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Donah and Boyd discuss how people who participate in social sites create selfdestructive profiles that include their links to other members, creating a visible
network of connections.

~ Sherry Turkle. "Always-On-You: The Tethered Self." (E) Dentity. 1st ed. Southlake:
Fountainhead, 2011. 1-202. Print.
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Turkle discusses how the social space creates a new place, second self of ourselves.
We are tethered to our always-on/always-on-us communications devices and the
people and things we reach through: social media, people, voicemail, etc.

~ Wolchover, By Natalie. "Why Do We Have Personal Space?" LiveScience. TechMedia


Network, 06 June 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2015.
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Wolchover discusses how our personal space are the rules of social behavior. The
diagram representation has four components of our personal space: intimate space,
personal space, social space, and public space.