The theory of dramaturgy by Erving Goffman; if had to be explained in one sentence would be that its a theory that speaks about perspectives and social locations. Goffman believed that when we are born, we are thrust onto a stage called everyday life, and that our socialisation consists of learning how to play our assigned roles from other people. We enact our roles in the company of others, who are in turn enacting their roles in interaction with us. He believed that whatever we do, we are playing out some role on the stage of life.
Goffman distinguished between front stages and back stages. During our everyday life, we spend most of our lives on the front stage, where we get to deliver our lines and perform. A wedding is a front stage. A classroom lectern is a front stage. A dinner table can be a front stage. Almost any place where we act in front of others is a front stage. Sometimes we are allowed to retreat to the back stages of life. In these private areas, we don’t have to act. We can be our real selves. We can also practice and prepare for our return to the front stage.
I feel with regards to the research question of this paper, that is what are people actually trying to show to their audiences, the theory of dramaturgy fits in well as there is always a front stage and a backstage when it comes to social media. Many people (especially the youth) believe that if someones Facebook and Instagram only has pictures of them going out all the time for parties and other fun activities; or dress very nicely and look conventionally attractive, the audience starts to believe that the individual is a very popular very happy person, which most of the times is not true at all.
But, what nobody sees is that this is probably just a pretence, just a coverup to show people. The idea of being popular and attractive has been instilled into us if not through our daily interactions then definitely through popular culture.
So, when individuals post pictures of their food on Facebook and Instagram, there are a lot of other answered we get to questions nobody really asks. For instance on both Facebook and Instagram you can add your location as to where you are in the photograph, most people 90% the time will add their location and a filter to their photograph and upload it. This portrays that the individual has dined at a fancy place, the restaurant, bar or cafe is probably in trend, because of the ambiance of the place and the styling of the food the audience can always tell if its a high-end restaurant or not therefore giving it more value.
So for a person who usually eats at home, home food that consists of your lentils and rice and grains in a steel plate, posting a picture of food thats completely different portrays to the audience that the individual is having a good time going to new places and trying new things. But in actuality, this is just the actor portraying himself on the front stage in a manner that will make him gain more acceptance or popularity or whatever the actor is internally seeking for. His backstage is him eating at home in a very laid-back manner but that is not what the actor shows to his audience on his social media.