I’m not sure I agree with the conclusion but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I think the key word is ‘identities’ – it’s not ‘identity’. How do we manage our multiple identities when the barriers that kept them apart – the separation of work and home life, the discretion of friends who might meet family, the discretion of family who might meet friends – are falling? I have a ‘real name’ and an online name – a queer identity, and a neutral one (though it’s not hard to guess when you meet me, it’s not the first thing I want you to know about me if I’m presenting a conference paper) – a trashy side and a respectable one. I don’t want them all present for all people. But is that a 20th century idea? I could maintain two identities – a professional and a personal one, but that seems dishonest. But on the other hand, I can be a deeply private person and don’t fancy letting go of that.
Finding myself through online identities
“…the nature of my engagement with the online world is changing in a very significant way.
Until now my online presence has been carefully managed and controlled, and although you can find out anything you care to ask about my views, politics, lack of religious belief and opinions on technology and the internet the persona that emerges from the last twenty years of online activity keep as much hidden as it reveals.
I rarely talk about my personal life, and reveal few details of my family or close relationships.

With my calendar, my location, my friendships and my opinions all online to be read and remembered, there’s little of me left to expose.

Those of us living in the west, with cheap easy access to computers and the internet and a sophisticated technological infrastructure surrounding us, are increasingly living our lives online.
This is no more frightening than any other vast social change, but it will be resisted by many who see in the loss of privacy something threatening, who believe it is dangerous or dehumanising or somehow against nature.
But we should never forget that we make human nature, it is not given to us, and we can therefore remake it.
Our modern conception of privacy and of the nature of the individual is a product of the industrial age that is now passing, so it should not surprise us that we are finding new ways of constructing an identity online. ”

2 thoughts on “

  1. Gwynn says:

    speaking of “online identities”, i’ve found that when i read online stuff of ppl i know, (admittedly mostly on dating sites) everyone tends towards putting on what they wish they were as opposed to what they’re really like. In a way it’s almost as revealing as if they told the truth. For my part, having a blog just revealed to myself just how boring my life was, regrettably…

  2. mia says:

    I think that’s human nature (or at least one of the many problems with internet dating). I guess the scale matters – “Attractive, sane and sorted” or “fabulously wealthy supermodel-genius-type”?
    I think the reason I was thinking about it was because Facebook requires your real first and second name, which means that anyone who had previously only known your online nicks suddenly has a whole lot more information about you. And conversly, your real name can be linked to your online nick. Imagine all the Samantha Jones who are suddenly revealed to be KinkyGoddess or FatNFlirty63…

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