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New mobile devices represent a novel innovation in an otherwise slow-to-change realm of social interaction—face-to-face encounters.The result is a shift from a social world in which much is ephemeral to one in which even the most trivial of passings is archival.This article explores teenagers’ practices of social networking in order to uncover the subtle connections between online opportunity and risk.While younger teenagers relish the opportunities to recreate continuously a highly-decorated, stylistically-elaborate identity, older teenagers favour a plain aesthetic that foregrounds their links to others, thus expressing a notion of identity lived through authentic relationships.Major conclusion: Each shift in communication is accompanied by a shifting sense of place, by a change in our perception of what George Herbert Mead (1934) called the “generalized other,” those others who seem significant enough for us to imagine how they may be imagining us.Each shift also is accompanied by a new sense of what I have called the “generalized elsewhere” (Meyrowitz 1989), that general imagining of how our locales may be viewed from the outside.Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: teenagers’ use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self-expression Sonia Livingstone 10.1177/1461444808089415 New Media Society June 2008 vol. 3 393-411 The explosion in social networking sites such as My Space, Facebook, Bebo and Friendster is widely regarded as an exciting opportunity, especially for youth.

[At the same time] the current postmodern trend is toward integration of members of all groups into a relatively common sphere of experiential options-with a new recognition of the special needs and idiosyncrasies of individuals.In her view, media impelles on us a second sense of selfhood.At the other end of the spectrum, technology itself is seen as a consequence of cultural and social choices that precede it. Social media would thus become a consequence of a game that has already been played.How is the presentation of the self influenced by a constantly networked world? Is the ”social” aspect of media equivalent to ”communitarian”?Or are we dealing here with an altogther different kind of community, possibly one that is closer to that of ”communitas,” a temporary state of affairs that appear only during ”ritualized” encounters.

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