Living on the Edge: Self-Representation and Virtual-Identity Construction on Social Media through Rooftopping
Social media provide individuals with vast terrain for having self-representation and virtual-identity construction through selfie pictures and videos. The paper examines the self-representation and the virtual-identity construction built on social media through extreme selfie rooftopping by Indonesian and foreign rooftoppers. Fourteen Indonesian rooftoppers were purposively selected as informants through snowball-sampling technique and seven foreign rooftoppers were also selected purposively. Face-to-face in-depth interview was carried out to the fourteen Indonesian rooftoppers (ethnographic approach), whilst mediated interview through social media messenger (Direct Messenger) was done to the seven foreign rooftoppers (virtual-ethnographic approach). Stuart Hall’s representation theory and Hermeneutics theory were employed to investigate how both the Indonesian and the foreign rooftoppers represent themselves on social media (Instagram) how their virtual-identities were constructed on social media. The research reveals that the Indonesian and foreign rooftoppers differ in the way how they represented on social media. The Indonesian rooftoppers represented themselves in common to less-extreme ways, whilst the world rooftoppers tended to represent themselves in extreme ways, such as performing acrobatic or stunt-like actions on the edge of the buildings. The virtual-identity construction of the Indonesian rooftoppers was built less assertively meanwhile that of the world rooftoppers was shown more assertively.