Why We Post




Living in paradise

Like many northern Chileans, 30-year-old Francisco does not post much original content on his Facebook page. His infrequent status messages rarely even amount to a full sentence. More than half of his profile pictures are photos of celebrities, cats, or cartoons, rather than any pictures of himself. Those that are of himself portray him in his work uniform from a loading dock at the port, or in fatigues from his time in the military. But he does post multiple memes, videos, and music, every day. 

Most of the memes play on themes of marginality and difference, often with a sense of humour. One meme he posted portrays Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve asks, "Adam, where do you think we are?" Adam responds, "We are in Chile, Eve. Don't you see that we're without clothing, without food, without a house, without education, and without hospitals. And they still tell us we're in paradise!" In posting such memes, Francisco uses his Facebook page, not only to identify as being marginalised, but to position this marginality as central to what it means to be Chilean. This particular meme positions the real Chile, and real Chileans as those who go without things like hospitals and education. Rather than suggesting that Alto Hospicio is not included in the imagined icon of Chileanness, Francisco, like many northerners reposition their marginality as true Chileanness, while the political and economic elite of places like Santiago are positioned as outside of this sense of belonging-those who tell others that they're in paradise.