Christine, you did an awesome job of explaining Goffman’s presentation of self including front stage and back stage. You are absolutely correct by saying that all of our actions play an intricate role in how people view is in society as well as how we view ourselves. As sad it is to say, many of the people around us judge just based on outward appearance. I think it is probably something that has been instilled in us every since we were little kids. We were taught to look at someone’s outside appearance to see if they present an immediate threat to us or to those around us.
In regards to flashmobs, our experiment was a perfect example of how those that do not follow the everyday norms are treated. Many people looked confused, some were frustrated, and others went along with our ideas. I found it very interesting how we could see two completely different sides of the spectrum; in that one person started bird-calling with us and another person got up and left. Our experiment went to show what acting outside of the societal norms can do to our overall perceived demeanor. I felt uncomfortable some times during the experiment; I can just imagine how those that are LGBTQ or anything else outside of the norms feel. How do you think those outside the norms can overcome their insecurities? And how can we as sociologists help them overcome their insecurities? Overall, I think we did do a get job at distracting those around us and I think we could have pulled it all together at the end because I do feel that we could have done something to show that we were united in some way and not complete strangers. Do you think we would have made a bigger impact on the Inner Circle crowd had we all pulled together at the end?
I really like how you discussed the front and back stage we have in regards to the bird call flash mob that our class did. As the person who started off the calls, I was so nervous at first because I did not want the people around me to find out I was doing it because I felt embarrassed. Disrupting my usual front stage was difficult at first, but because we were doing it as a class it was much easier to let loose as we continued on and become extremely fun. Eventually I did not really care if people found out that I was doing it. If I had been doing this alone, however, it would have been a different story. Like when someone trips, they become embarrassed, but if you are with a friend, the situation is a whole different story. I think the front stage part of us is mostly present when we are by ourselves and can instantly change once amongst a crowd. It was also interesting to see the reactions that we got, because it showed what was socially acceptable, and what was not. If it were just one person doing it, others might have labeled them weird. But as a group, it could be seen as something “cool”. I also did not realize that others outside of the class joined in. So our flash mob did have some effect on breaking the regular, socially acceptable, routine of the day. A question I had was, why do you think, even has a large group some people still had difficulty showing their backstage by not really participating in the flash mob?
Christine, your observation on the flash mob was on-target. There were different responses. Some were positive responses like laughter. Negative responses like negative remarks did injure one’s face. I also noticed someone with a suit and nametag, most likely from registration. In part, I believe others joined the public disturbance, because the calls could not be narrowed down to any one single individual. It was amusing to get out character for once. Perhaps everyone who joined in the bird calls does not a funny backstage. The situation might have allowed the situation. It could have been a group effect.
You mentioned feeling embarrassed when you were discovered. Definitely, first impressions guide further interaction. However, there is sometimes a sense of relief that you will not encounter the people who witness you out of face. In other situations, you expect to see people again. In job interviews or when dating, people present the best front stage that others would like. This is because people anticipate having further interaction. If you ever encounter the person who discovered you doing the bird calls, how do you think you would approach the situation? If the person had been someone you knew, would it make a difference? And do you think it would be harder to perform the front stage with someone who witnessed the bird calls?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.