#alwayson is a series of text works – short essays/posters/prose based around the characters that live in my dissertation.

The essay looks at the presentation of self in online social networks, considering the implications for selfhood, with particular reference to notions of privacy and authenticity, now that the first generation of digital natives has come of age.

#alwayson combines a loosely-directed narrative, with a series of text-based snapshots, in order to dissect the attitudes and lifestyles of three types of user:

User0001 is a true digital native; born in the mid-1990s, she/he has never known the world without its digital counterpart; a social life without documentation; a world without the hashtag. Coming into the world after the advent of online social media and networking, User0001 has been absorbed by the new technology, and is inclined not to question its nature or purpose.

User0002 narrates his/her life through online social networks, and feels more at home there than in the face to face world. User0002 is more confident, amiable, and sociable online. All of the images online are of his/her best side, and every one has been filtered through a nostalgia-inducing cameraphone app. There is a filter called 1977 – the year that User0002 was born.

User0003 maintains a strict separation between his/her offline and online self, treating online social networks as a means of glorifying his/her lifestyle. User0003 knowingly manipulates selfhood through the use of online social networks, believing that people are more likely to believe in his/her permanent online presence than the evidence of fleeting, real-world meetings.