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Identity in the age of the internet.

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Introduction

Irena Bukhshtaber 9204440B Journal entry 4 Identity in the age of the internet What is it that defines me? What makes me 'me' and what allows for the recognition that distinguishes 'me' from other individuals? A child begins to distinguish itself from its mother over time and distance, and so the individual also develops a unique identity as a result, or by-product of, their accumulated experience and analysis of experience - it's an exponential activity. When reflecting upon Turkle's article, it seems the search for definitive and distinguished identity has somehow trained us to transfer this quest onto inanimate objects. Our quest for meaning; the eternal 'why am I here?' easily expands to include our environment; 'why is this here?' and finally perhaps the narcissistic 'it's here to help me understand why I'm here'. Do you love me? ...read more.

Middle

From their early computational meanings - the transparent embodiment of rapid ones and zeros - to the present; where our machines are both an extension and an expression of ourselves, and almost a friend. Through the domestication of the computer and modem, we have overcome our fear that one day Kubrick's HAL will warmly tell us he "can't do that" and eject us into open space. On reflection, even my appointing a feeling to HAL's speech - that he spoke warmly - is an example of how humans instinctively invest objects with feelings, emotions and in terms of modern computers, independent thought. The deconstruction age Turkle's paper sets the scene through her study of MUDs (multi-user domains) and MUD users: fully text-based internet environments, where people interact through multiple virtual characters in communally created virtual environments. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is the only way I believe I will discover my destiny and answer the eternal question, through integration into the three-dimensional whole that is 'me'. But for an experienced MUD user, the process is one of de-centralisation. Switching between windows, personalities, RL (real life) and virtual life, their personality is a democracy of sorts, although this suggests a kind of balance which many of the users in Turkle's study seem to lack. Where as I, a Luddite perhaps, would judge negatively their choice of channelling their passion and effort into a world that doesn't exist instead of trying to make the best of their 3D lives, they would question my devotion to an existence over which I have so little control and so much invested. In fact when a MUD user asks 'why am I here?', they don't need to bother with the answer because here is any place they have chosen to be. ...read more.

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