Students will analyze their own social media accounts to determine which parts of their lives they choose to share and which they choose to omit in order to understand that they make choices in how they curate their digital lives.
How do you choose what you share online? Which moments of your day do you Snap to your friends? And why do you choose to share what you share? Typically, social media users share the most positive parts of their lives. Consider the selfie as an example. Some girls spend hours creating the perfect make-up look and then take hundreds of selfies before choosing the perfect one to edit using filters and then share on Instagram. What are the effects of cultivating a seemingly perfect version of ourselves for our virtual lives? How does this image conflict with our identities in reality?
Students will consider how comparison between their own realities to another individual’s curated life online could impact their feelings about themselves and the lives that they live.
“What am I doing? What should I be doing? Is it enough?” were some of the questions a University of Missouri student asked herself when considering the lives of others on social media.44 It is easy to feel inadequate when making comparisons between your offline self and a carefully curated online persona. Social networking sites manipulate the perceptions we have of others. Ultimately, we focus on our shortcomings in compared to the glorified versions of reality depicted in social media profiles.
Students will apply their self-reflections on social media by writing monologues and dialogues that illustrate their identities in the virtual world and in reality.
Once students have reflected on how their time is spent online, they will create a scene that imagines a world where their virtual selves meet their realistic selves. Our classroom space will become a gallery of favorite selfies. Students will choose their favorite selfie and it will be displayed next to their unfiltered headshot. They will then consider the story that is told through each photo, creating a character biography for each image. This assignment will conclude with each student writing a dialogue between these two characters. What do these two people need to say to one another? How do they make each other feel?
Students will practice Kristin Linklater’s vocal technique to unpack the emotional blocks that could be hindering their freedom of creative expression.
Linklater speculates that all people have a voice that can express the full range of emotions and human experiences. Through life experiences and uncontrollable factors, however, tension is built in the body that interferes with one’s ability to freely use their voice.45 The Linklater Technique is a system of personal exploration, and a method of physical and vocal exercises designed to help students dismantle emotional blocks. In doing this, students can free their voice and use it to its fullest capacity.
Students will create autobiographical pieces that illustrate their relationship with Social Media.
Studies show that habitual interaction with social media leads to feelings of inadequacy, resulting in a display of depressive symptoms and a lowering of self-esteem.46 Does the constant comparison of oneself to others and the pursuit of chasing “likes” on social media create emotional blocks that inhibit my students from participating fully in theatre classes? Are emotional blocks created in order to cope with feelings of inadequacy? Using an adaption of the Linklater exercise “The Riverstory”, students will explore their relationship with social media and its impact on their self-esteem in an attempt to break these emotional blocks and free themselves to connect more deeply in classroom exercises.