Identity vs. Self-Portrait

A picture is worth a thousand words, but the pictures that people save and share say so much more.

At least, that’s my opinion.

Rettberg talked about the difference between representation and presentation, and how both can lead to different ways to define yourself.


A representation is an object, a sign that is seen as constructed in some way, and that stands instead of an object to which it refers.

Representation is about the things you post, such as selfies, tweets/posts, or other images (Rettberg uses the graph as a run for example). I could almost say that people can use their ideals or aesthetics to define who they are.

For example, if I shared these:

tattoo idea


My readers can get an idea of my likes and interest, but a lot of what they see can be based on their own interpretations of it. For example, that first photo can be read as either a future tattoo idea for my self, or I could have just shared it because I like the design. (It’s both tbh, but I’m poor, so no tattoo for me). Representation is a halfway point between identity and a self portrait.

On the topic of presentation:

A presentation is an act, something that a person does, so talking about presentations allows us to analyse the way that the person acts to present themselves

This definition is pretty forward: acts define presentation, so acts define a person’s identity. I think presentation is more of an in-person way to define an identity. If we’re still talking about online identity, vlogs (video blogs) and videos of yourself on YouTube, Vine, Facebook, etc. all count. Personally, I’m too socially awkward and I don’t like how I look on camera, so I don’t have much of a presentation identity. The few time’s I’ve made a YouTube video was because it was for a scholarship.

Based on the above definitions, I definitely have more of a representative identity than a presentation identity (I have no idea on how to make that possessive, sue me).


About mollyjeans

Creative and Professional Writing Major, video gamer, nerd extraordinaire.
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