Co-Presences in College

In the article “Living and Learning with New Media” there is a part where it talks about how teenagers often have to find ways around the restrictions placed upon the ways they can socialize. Some of the main ways that they do this is by socializing in places that generally aren’t sanctioned to socialize in and using technology to socialize. The article says “because these work-arounds and back channels take place in schools, homes, vehicles, and other contexts of young people‚Äôs everyday lives, teens become adept at maintaining a continuous presence, or co-presence, in multiple contexts.” What I found most interesting in this quote was the phrase “co-presence”. In terms of technology I couldn’t help but think that this phrase meant that you might have one presence in the real world and another presence online. If that was what that meant then teenagers and young people today have tons of presences. For example, I might be present in class but also texting in my group chat of best friends from home and snapchatting a person in another state and posting a picture onto facebook that all thousand something of my facebook friends can see. As technology has developed so that all my social media needs are in one place (my phone), having a continuous co-presence is the easiest thing in the world. As a college student there are much less restrictions on hanging out with friends but there are still some that exist; not having the same schedules, not going to the same schools and things like that, so these work-arounds and back channels become the only way to keep in touch with people that are impossible to see for reasons other than our parents telling us we can’t go out.

2 thoughts on “Co-Presences in College”

  1. Something I thought while reading this was another form of co-presence in the form of multiple identities. A lot of teenagers are often one from of themselves that they feel is socially acceptable in public situations, but when they are in private chat rooms or anonymous forums, they can take on a new identity that they are afraid to show in face-to-face interactions because of judgement. I feel as if this term of “co-presence” extends beyond being in two social worlds at once and includes taking on two (or more) identities at once.

    This is important because it allows people to explore themselves without fear of explicit judgement from others. I think that this is a great thing and something many people could not do before. This can result in a more diverse group of individuals who, instead of conforming to those around them, explore their identities and create one that best fits themselves.

    1. I agree with dnewman that co-presence in this sense creates multiple identities. This made me think of my younger sister, who has a very strong internet presence but is actually pretty shy in real life. They have been able to explore their identity via instagram and tumblr in ways that are impossible in our high school setting, which has created the dual identity that dnewman talked about above. It’s really interesting because I am the more confident sister in real life, but I don’t use any social media besides Facebook, which I feel is more true to people’s “real life” selves. So, unlike my sister, who definitely has a duality in their identities, I would say that I don’t have this as much. I wonder how different types of social media sites contribute to dual identities, and if some social media is more conducive to creating an identity different from the “real life” identity.

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