Online presentation of self on instagram: a case study of yoga practitioners in Turkey
Embargo Lift Date: 2019-01-28
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In the era of social media, Social Network Sites (SNSs) has become an essential part of social conversation. Among varied aspects of online communication, SNSs encourage the users to present their idealized self-identities in digital realm. This thesis explores social media practices and performances of Turkey’s yoga community on Instagram, based on Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective on self-presentation. With this aim, visual images, texts and hashtags of the Instagram posts by yogis and yoginis were analyzed while ethnographic research techniques were used with a consideration of both online and offline contexts. Conducted research showed that there are three main motivations for the yogi and yoginis of Turkey to use Instagram: to become visible, to exhibite creativity online and to offer a guidance to their followers for self-actualization. Furthermore, the findings provided an understanding about yoga body, gender roles and attitudes towards censorship. This thesis argues that even if they were designed for global-scale interaction, the ways that SNSs are employed by the users to indicate different attitudes depend on local circumstances of the community. Therefore, instead of taking online platforms as homogenous constructs, considering them in their offline contexts is required for overall comprehension of the social meaning produced through the practices on SNSs.