According to Brym and Lie, self-socialization is the ability to choose socialization from the wide variety of mass media offerings (2012:67). There are so many mediums with which I have socialized myself with. One of the major means through which I have socialized myself with is through the internet because the internet is the '[..] fastest growing mass medium' (Brym and Lie 2012:65). I have been using social networks since I was 10 years of age, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Hi5 and many others. The social network that has really influenced and shaped me is Twitter. Twitter helps me in socializing in different ways, such as gaining knowledge about things around me, building my confidence, and improving my fashion sense. In this essay, I would discuss how these ways help me to socialize through twitter and I will explain socialization theoretically from a symbolic perspective and I will conclude with a brief discussion of sociological imagination.
Twitter has enabled me to have more information about the activities in my surroundings. It aids connection amongst my friends and I. Everyone in my intimate circle has the app on their phone and so there is no missing link in our friendship, because we all share the same ideas and communicate with each other. If I did not have the Twitter app, I would be left out in most of the conversations between my friends and I. For instance, there was a fight on twitter on January 1st and on January 2nd that was the hot topic of discussion. If I did not have the app, I would have been unaware of the fight on twitter and would have been lost during the discussion. I also gain knowledge about religious practices around me. Most of the people who are friends with me on twitter have different religious backgrounds and through twitter I am able to learn about the culture and norms of their religions. For example, I have a deeper level of understanding of the significance of the Hijab for Muslim women. Twitter is also a social learning network. I have had the opportunity to learn many things about people, Canada, different companies and the world in general. For instance, Uber facts, a twitter account that shares facts of people and things going on in the world, keeps me informed of things that I have never learnt of before.
Twitter also offers a secure platform for self-exploration because of the obscurity it provides its users. First, Twitter provides a platform used to explore all the facets of my identity. The social network is an easy place to take on multiple identities as different comments about different things require different responses so as to follow trends. One particular aspect of my identity that I have noticed is my race because of many anti-racial remarks that some people post on Twitter. Those remarks have made me understand the existence of racial slurs in the society. Likewise, the obscurity that twitter provides gives me a confident boost. Since I am protected by Twitter 'mask', I can say things I cannot in real life. I can share my feelings more on the social network while I cannot in the actual world because I am shy and different. With the Twitter 'mask' I can be many things as I desire to be in the Twitter universe. It also enables me to observe people who have the same characteristics as myself. The social network is a place where I get to befriend both people that I know and I don't know. By these means, I interact with people and learn the norms of their society and also teach them the norms of my society. This enables me to have a better self-identity.
Twitter also keeps me up to date with all the latest fashion trends. Twitter enables me to change my wardrobe seasonally. I don't wear the things I wore last year because they are no longer a fad. For instance, last year's fashion trend which was color blocking is no longer a trend so I no longer wear anything that color blocks. Also, I am able to hold up with the fashion trends the people I associate with are following. My friends and I coincidentally wear matching things all the time. Without the app, this coincidence will never occur. The Social network also guides me to know the fashion 'Do's and Don'ts'. I follow many fashion critics account and I have become more knowledgeable about how I am expected to dress in order to avoid being embarrassed. All in all, twitter has made me knowledgeable on fashion styles.
Symbolic Interactionism is the best theory that can be used to analyze self-socialization , because its main focus is on the meaning of self-socialization and it deals with how individuals communicate to make their social settings meaningful (Brym and Lie 2012:16). I will discuss this theory from three points of view. These views include the development of the looking-glass self, role playing and the formation of self-image. The looking-glass self, focuses on the feelings about how my identity depends mainly on how I see myself evaluated by others (Brym and Lie 2012:58). Through the use of Twitter, people see me as someone who is confident. This evaluation by my followers has enabled me to be a better individual and has boosted my ego. Role-playing is very important in self-socialization. Twitter has provided a social networking environment where I can be who I desire to be and imitate my role models. Likewise, the establishment of self only emerges through social interaction. With the help of twitter, I have been able to socially interact with people, and develop '[..] a sense of what constitutes appropriate behavior and a moral sense of right and wrong'(Brym and Lie 2012:58).
From the aspect of sociological imagination, I have been able to develop a mind that will help me see what is going on in the world and what may be happening within me (Brym and Lie 2012:8). Twitter has been able to provide a better mindset of social problems such as bullying, abortion, alcoholism, and also personal troubles like suicide which has been able to increase my level of socialization not only in the twitter world but in the real world.
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