New article: ‘What’s on your mind?’ Writing on Facebook as a tool for self-formation

Theresa Sauter
New Media and Society
Published online before print July 8, 2013, doi: 10.1177/1461444813495160


In the context of modern western psychologised, techno-social hybrid realities, where individuals are incited constantly to work on themselves and perform their self-development in public, the use of online social networking sites (SNSs) can be conceptualised as what Foucault has described as a ‘technique of self’. This article explores examples of status updates on Facebook to reveal that writing on Facebook is a tool for self-formation with historical roots. Exploring examples of self-writing from the past, and considering some of the continuities and discontinuities between these age-old practices and their modern translations, provides a non-technologically deterministic and historically aware way of thinking about the use of new media technologies in modern societies that understands them to be more than mere tools for communication.