Friday, February 11, 2011

Jennifer Fang and Her Unoriginal Username

Jennifer Fang’s username on the popular social bookmarking site is unoriginal. Her profile is mostly blank and she has no picture. Hers is the kind of profile I would not take a second look at—on, she is a n00b. She is user jenniferf (minus 10 points for originality) and she only has 12 social bookmarks, ranging from June 11, 2009 to June 22, 2009, with one to two sentence succinct descriptions. Despite these shortcomings, through her bookmarks and tags, Jennifer paints a picture of who she is and what interests her.

Jennifer Fang is most likely a Chinese American graduate student working on her dissertation. This is noticeable from her tag cloud on, which displays both “dissertation” and “Chinese American” as the largest words in the list of tags, indicating that they are the most often used tags. Her tags also focus on Delaware, where I believe she is doing her research. There are also many education and teaching tags as well as culture and China tags. Through her own specific and detailed tagging system, Jennifer Fang produces a mini-profile describing herself and her interests. Although I cannot be completely sure of who she is, based off her tagging practices, I am able to at least deduce that Jennifer Fang should be a Chinese American graduate student in Delaware writing her dissertation on the subject of education of Chinese culture in America to other Chinese Americans, detailing the history of Chinese Americans in the United States.

I first bonded with Jennifer Fang through her “Chinese American” tag. It was love at first tag—in the sea of usernames that provided for me, user jenniferf jumped out at me. She had bookmarked publicly an article in the New York Times called “Adopted in China, Seeking Identity in America” from March 23, 2006, and for some reason, the fact that she was unoriginal in her username choice hooked me in. At first it was a quick glance over her page, and then I was sold. What makes Jennifer Fang stand out is the fact that she uses her account to focus on a particular subject, versus the users whose bookmarks come from a variety of subjects. It was clear what her interests were—granted, it was not very hard to figure out.

I am most thankful to Jennifer Fang for introducing me to a website called Asian Nation, dedicated to Asian American history, demographics, and issues. Through Jennifer’s tags of “asian american”, “immigration”, “statistics”, “settlement pattern”, I came across this site that helped me understand the historical background of Asian Americans in the United States. It highlights on the ethnic communities and enclaves, which sheds light on the effort of assimilation and integration into American society.

Jennifer Fang is my social bookmarking soul mate not only because her bookmarks are few and her tags are direct. She is my social bookmarking soul mate because her interests encompasses many of the things this blog is about—Asian Americans in the United States and how we fit into society. Through her bookmarks, I was able to not only learn about the historical context of Asian American communities and their efforts in assimilation and integration into American society, but also a personal article of someone who is going through the same identity problem highlighted by the New York Times. Jennifer bookmarks both the big picture ideas as well as smaller relatable recounts of such ideas.

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