My Paper: Goffman’s Presentation of Self and YouTube

Goffman’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was published in 1959 with the intent of establishing a description of meaning in social interaction.  Goffman said that people present an “idealized” version of themselves in public (front stage).  People present more consistent versions of themselves to coincide with norms and societal laws.  When not in public (behind stage), these social rules do not need to be followed.

However, I believe that technologies such as YouTube has blurred the personal and private rules to the point that there is no back stage. Technology is shifting the concept of privacy.

I want to know if Goffman’s idea still holds true.  I am going to search YouTube for “Drinking and Puking” and hypothesize that Goffman’s idea does not fit.  Seeing YouTube presentation of self, I do not believe that the distinction between front stage and back stage still holds true.  There is a reconstruction of public and private space and there is a mutual shaping of technology and behavior.

For design idea, I am going to suggest an instant removal option on YouTube because as these people go out and search for jobs, there is a need for them to reestablish their boundaries between personal and private.

What do you think?  I know there are some books out there already that look at presentation of self and technology, but I’m going to focus on the YouTube idea.


  1. mingxian

    I think it is a good idea! I just read the paper Kevin recommended by email, and in that paper, the author talked a lot about things happening on Second Life, and I think there is some similar things between them, maybe it is a good paper to read for you.

    • nil

      sorry which paper are you talking about?? can you please write the name?? i am doinga ppr on second life and goffman’s everyday life.. if you would have any more pprs to suggest i will appreciate! tank you nil

  2. Gim, Hyewon

    In fact, I want to read the paper that mingxian said too.
    And the relationship between personal and private will be powerful subject.


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