Friday, March 16, 2012

Something to chew on, over the weekend...

Postmodern Media - Digital Identity / Digital Self.
"Your 'Digital Self' is your online avatar, internet versions of yourself, the way you represent yourself online."
Questions:
  • Do people represent themselves honestly online?
  • Are the 'physical you' and the 'digital you' separate? 
  • Which version of you is the most real? The 'physical you' or the 'digital you'?

Please reply to this post, providing your answers and your arguments/evidence...

70 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic question! I would love to hear people's answers to it.
    There are so many elements to it that need unpicking. We make so many assumptions about the link between 'natural' and 'real' (and 'important') which unravel very quickly when we start to examine them. A lot of the advertising industry is based on these simplistic assumptions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true... there is a tendency to treat this question as related to changing technologies, however I'd argue that the issue is more fundamental, as it is about defining both 'ourselves' and 'reality'. What you represent of yourself is a part of yourself and is therefore inherently honest even if your intentions were to misrepresent. That choice represents you. Others, form opinions based on what you do / share online. Advertisers, I think sometimes forget that their depictions of products, brands works in much the same way. In a postmodern world, ads wear their intentions on their sleeves. Subtlety is a thing of the past.

      Delete
    2. I don't think it is quite true to say subtlety is a thing of the past. You can be quite subtle, for instance, in what you choose to say or not say, and in the timing of responses.
      The whole 'thing' is gameable, of course, but then the same is true in the non-virtual world too.

      I agree completely that there is an element of defining ourselves. But there is also an element of defining others - how much of an impression does it make on 'the viewing public' when we comment on someone else's blog post, for instance? It says something about me that I am choosing to reply. It also, surely, says something about you - the fact I have taken time to respond is an endorsement of the importance you have, of the fact that your topic is one which I believe is worthy of discussion. But you don't have a direct influence over what I choose to write, and in some cases you don't get to veto it either (I could post my comments on my own blog, and link to your work).

      It is a marvelously complex and complicated field.

      Delete
  2. Another media aspect to consider is the influence reality TV has had on our perception of how we present ourselves. The biggest criticism that can be levelled at someone is that they are 'fake' or 'two-faced'. Of course all of us present ourselves differently to different people, that's what being tactful, sensitive, persuasive, empathetic (=human?) is. However, a camera (and director) picking up how we are different in different situations and juxtaposing them attempts to show this as problematic. It is artificial (in the true sense of the word), but is artifice wrong, or even unnatural?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arguably, artifice is a part of our reality, in that it is/has become a part of who we are. The ability to create online personas is in many ways little different to the personas we may put in place at home, school, work etc... I think what changes things, is that the digital self can take on a life of its own.

      That with Reality TV, Infotainment, self-made media on YouTube, there is a lack of quality control. Which, is problematic, itself because we then begin to enter into value judgements, and who are any of us to say what is 'good quality' and 'what isn't'? Any media text becomes the property of the public when it is published, much like a work of art.

      Back to the persona taking on a life of itself... once a media text is out there it is difficult to retract. The way you represent yourself, is potentially more permanent than the personas we use in real life. Say something out of turn. Enter into an elongated diatribe. Put up a picture. Whatever, it may be, it can potentially live on forever, becoming a permanent part of you.

      Thus, there is a strong case for all people who use the World Wide Web to take great care in 'crafting' their web footprint. And I use 'craft' specifically... as in mediate, edit, control. Having the power to create media is empowering, but as with anything that empowers you, there is also the potential for disaster and misuse. You have to be responsible.

      Delete
    2. Katy Piggott4:49 pm

      There is also a darker side to this I feel. I saw an interesting documentary last night on BBC three; it was about trolling on facebook & twitter, with Richard Bacon. People use these mediums to say nasty and disgusting things as well as big themselves up. An example was writing hate messages and posting defaced pictures on R.I.P sites set up on facebook. These things you would not dare to say to someone’s face but people are happy to write it down! Is this the real them coming out in digital form? Why would they do such things if it wasn’t the real them?
      It is as if this technology allows you to explore yourself deeper whether it be good or bad. I feel people see no limit to exaggerating their thoughts whatever they may be. I feel it allows you to express your true self or what you would like your true self to be.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for commenting Katy. I saw the documentary too and believe you are right. While some people choose to present themselves in a positive way online other choose to circumvent such representations by masking themselves with a false name, avatar etc. What this does not hide is their true personality being on show. The trouble is that this is a form of false representation in itself - but a dangerous one. How do you know what is real? What ways are there to be safe online and avoid such people? Can you trust anyone? Lots of questions!

      Delete
    4. Anything we do is artificial, of course, and everything we do is also natural, unless we subscribe to some form of dualistic world-view and deify ourselves.
      Is the artifice of presenting a different 'me' to different audiences wrong? In some cases they may just be 'me' seen through different lenses - I may choose to not present some elements of my nature to some people, which I would be happy to present in others, as Asher so rightly points out.

      The trolling issue is one which often rears its ugly head. I have seen some truly repugnant comments left on various sites, but then I have also heard at least as bad said in pubs and on street corners. The main difference seems to be that the individual feels they can get away with it with just their computer for company/anonymity whereas typically in the non-virtual world it requires a group of people to get the confidence to spout their unpleasantness. I actually know which I would rather encounter - although obviously I would rather neither existed in the world.

      Delete
  3. Sareena Khaira12:45 pm

    I think that people represent an ideal of themselves that they think would be accepted by their peers and people of similar interests online. This may not apply for everyone,however, your digital self is not your true identity as you can change how you are perceived by others. This makes your online identity ambiguous as no one really knows whether you are being truthful or not. I believe that the physical you and the digital you are separate to a certain extent as they both form your identity and are a representation of yourself. However, with the digital you, there is only a limited amount of information bout yourself and it is only information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure I agree with you Sareena with regard to the amount of information. Some people share a significant amount of info about themselves online, particularly as a lot of people do not give much consideration to their web footprint. They are naive about what they share online, not considering the consequences... as such people can end up with not only large amounts of data about themselves being available online but that they may not even realise/remember it is there.

      Delete
    2. Hey, they aren't necessarily naive about it! I probably share more with people online than with people in face to face situations. Yes, there is a risk that it can be misused, but so far the reverse has been the case. I am careful not to share everything publicly, but it is certainly true that I can't always remember where I did share something, and that is an issue I keep trying to address.

      I think, Sareena, that there is a degree of separation, but only really due to the pre-conceived ways we interpret the information we receive. Everything we know about others is based on information, after all, whether we hear them speak, hear others speak about them, see what they do, read reports etc.

      Where is my identity? I'd argue it is in the heads of other people. Yes, I have an idea of what I am like, and how I would like to be. That guides what I want to do, but how I do things depends largely on how it will impact on other people, and what they will think of me as a result. Not that I am particularly vain (those who know me may chuckle at this concept), but I do believe it is important to consider how my actions impact on other people. And the key to that is having an idea of 'who they think I am', what model they have of my identity, of how they expect me to behave.

      Delete
  4. serena12:51 pm

    I don't think people deliberately represent themselves dishonestly online, but much like in media texts like news, people mediate themselves, they frame positive aspects and reject anything that doesnt fit with how they choose to portay themselves. I dont believe people set out to lie about themselves, but edit and mediate themselves to leave out what they see as unimportant/unnecessary. This is hard to label as honest/dishonest, but it is perhaps not giving the whole truth.

    I also think it's hard to say they are/ aren't separate. In a way, A digital self is simple a refined/mediated version of ourselves, but still a part of us. However, They are only based on the person they represent,like a represenation of reality, and can sometimes seem like entirely different people.

    I don't think either is particularly real, because both the physical you and the digital you is changed and created by the envrionment it is in, and is responding to the media around it. How someone acts/ chooses to portray themselves depends on the environment they are in. I think digital self's are less real however, as online, someone has more freedom to edit and mediate themselves, taking them further from the truth. They are also only simulations of physical people, and not a true representation of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really well explored Serena. I think you have got to the heart of the debate. Considering your final point about simulations, could it not be argued that the real simulation is life itself. To draw on Sareena's comment on abiguity, are the people we are physically any less ambiguous than the digital versions of ourselves? If not, then how can we define which is the simulation and which is not?

      Delete
    2. I agree, Serena has really struck home with this piece. I was going to ask whether maybe the ability to edit and mediate themselves might actually be taking them closer to the truth, rather than further away? I guess that depends on discovering what the 'self' really is. If it is formed by our internal and social narrative, maybe the digital medium, providing the capacity for renewal and reworking strengthens and refines the narrative, and gives a stronger sense of self?

      Delete
    3. serena2:27 pm

      yes, Baudrillard would argue that life itself is a simulation, as he thinks we are all living in a state of hyperreality. However, I think the digital self goes further than this, and could perhaps be called a simulation of a simulation, much like the matrix could be. In the matrix, we are offered a simulation ( because it is a constructed text based on no known reality ) of a simulation ( the world in which they live. I think you could class a digital self in the same way. If life and the physical self were a simulation, the digital self would be an edited, mediated simulation of this.

      I think it could be argued that both are a simulation, but to different degree's. Perhaps because of the nature of the internet, it is possible for the digital self to come further from the truth, and so is to a greater degree not real.

      I also think its hard to define what the self is, but I think in a digital self, much like in news we watched, the ability to edit and mediate will always mean the whole story is not offered, and that aspects will be modified to fit with their own views. I think people try to change themselves online to create a digital self that they agree with, and reject aspects of their physical self. This gives a narrow view of someone, and doesn't present the whole picture. However, I do agree if someone can refine and rework themselves then maybe they are getting closer to who they really are, if they reject and dispose of aspects of themselves they don't need or like.

      Delete
  5. I think that the 'physical you' is much more open to interpretation; the 'physical you' can be changed whenever you meet someone new - an individual could easily have multiple personalities that change regularly depending on the situations and people they face. Personally, I think the 'digital you' is much harder to change once the account has been created - despite being able to change information, names, avatars etc. your 'friends' or 'followers' stay the same; they all 'know' the 'digital you' by how you're presented online, and in some cases they can even see the changes that are made to your 'digital self' as they happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicely put! Particularly as there will be people who only know the 'digital you'. To them the 'digital you' is you. Their understanding of who you are is gleaned from what you share online. Those 140 character tweets define you.

      Delete
    2. The only wrinkle here is that you can have multiple accounts, in either the same or multiple places. So I can have many different 'digital mes', each reflecting difference aspects of me, as long as I am careful not to allow them to overlap. Once I (or someone else) allow information to 'bleed' between online personae, the game is lost.

      But that is really the same as in the non-virtual world; it is just harder to appear to be in two places at once in the physical, whereas in the virtual I can be engaged in different conversations with different (or the same, who can tell?!) people in different venues at the same time.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous2:27 pm

      True, even still with multiple accounts, once the information is entered it's much harder to erase. If the information happened to 'bleed' together, do you think this would create an honest representation of that person? I'm not sure if honesty can ever be achieved, but then again, I don't think digital and physical identities are necessarily false either.

      Delete
    4. So where does that leave us? Are we happy to sit on the metaphorical fence? Have we been bought and sold on on the postmodern notion of 'no absolutes'? Can't it be one or the other?

      Delete
    5. I also have two digital me's and there is some overlap due to early errors with twitter, but they're both still me, just different aspects of one person. They are only separate just in the same way I don't talk about funny things my young kids say when in a Marketing meeting. I am one person! I think maybe some folk have dual lives whether digital or not and that they may deliberately create a separate on-line persona. ie you've either a split personality/want to have a split personality or not! You are maybe someone who wishes to keep aspects of their lives private and others public! Digital does reflect reality.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous1:10 pm

    In my persona opinion one does not represent themselves completely truthfully and honestly online on social media sites such as facebook and twitter, we have a choice in what we publish and virtually share creating a false persona of our-self. However arguably it could be seen that our physical self consciously creates a persona that we feel would be more desirable and likeable, shown through are clothing, attitudes and beliefs and character ect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps. Could you not argue though that there is a false sense of security in online spaces and as such people often give away a lot more about their true selves. Photos speak a thousand words... every image in which someone is tagged therefore, potentially offers a more real picture than any other. Also, as Katy suggests above, there is a darker side to social networks where people can get in touch with their true-self in ways they are unable to in the physical world.

      Delete
    2. I'd agree that the 'physical self' also creates a persona, and I'd go further and say it does it both consciously and subconsciously, and that it creates different ones for different audiences. Very few people use the same language, or talk about the same topics, in front of their parents as they do in the company of their friends.

      This seems to pre-suppose that the online self is somehow separate from the physical. Both, however, must surely have their roots in the physical - perhaps the online should be seen as just another set (or sets) of clothes to wear?

      Delete
  7. Anonymous1:10 pm

    in my personal view i believe that we do not represent our self's realistically as we can create a false image in how we would like to be/look so this would give someone a false sense of who you are on certain social websites such as facebook and twitter creating a fake profile on who you might like to be, instead of who you actually are. This is due to the fact that people want to fit in more so they feel that if they make a few things up about themselves and put across a different personality then they will fit in more and been seen as a more confident person, and can create images of yourself that look different to how you might look in real life, for instance more make up, designer clothing, edited photo's ect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that what people are doing when they choose what outfit to wear, what make-up to put on, or choose not to use certain words in front of certain audiences though? Is this any different to how people work in the non-virtual world?

      Delete
  8. Anonymous12:59 pm

    (Part 1 of 2)

    I've been involved with online communities since I first encountered the Web, back in the mid 90s. I engage with a number of different online activities and communities through a number of different identities/personae.

    My "real" name (the one on e.g. my passport and other state-recognised records) is associated with one of those identities. My activity under that identity extends across many different online platforms/services (organisational Web sites, repositories, blogs, various social networking services, Listservs etc etc etc). Most of my online activity using that identity is related to my professional interests, but I also discuss leisure interests, comment on current events, politics etc - and just socialise with friends. There are certainly many, many things I don't say/disclose under this identity - not least for reasons of personal security. And I'm also aware that agencies which may hold power over me (employers, insurers, credit agencies, state authorities etc etc) do search for such information and might make judgements about me based on the information I do disclose. Do my choices about non-disclosure/omission make this a "dishonest"/"false" identity? Perhaps, but if so, is it really so different from the way I operate in physical space? I choose what I say about myself according to context. I don't walk into a supermarket, shout out my name, date of birth, home address, credit history, medical history, and the days of the month my home is going to be unoccupied :)

    My other identities are associated with pseudonyms, and again, in most cases, they extend across multiple online services. Most of my activity using these identities is related to personal/leisure/creative interests. I don't disclose my "real" name under these identities, though I'm under no illusions about the possibility that a moderately determined & tech-savvy sleuth could probably uncover the relationship. Just as with the identity based on my "real" name, I think about what I do and don't disclose, and sometimes I decline to respond to questions where a reply would reveal information I don't want to disclose.

    One of my pseudonymous identities in particular is one I've used now for a period of over six years. Under this identity, I've accrued a modest body of online content and a modest network of contacts, many (but not all) also pseudonymous, and many of whom I've interacted with over a period of several years, interactions which I enjoy and have come to value. This identity is very "real" to me, and I think those who interact with it (me?) recognise/perceive it as "real", in the sense that it is associated with a stable set of (hopefully positive!) characteristics, they have made some assessment of what they can and can't expect from interaction, and they (presumably) derive some value from continuing to interact on those terms.

    Of course I've had arguments with people over the years, but I don't think I've ever used the pseudonymity of this identity as a "cloak" behind which to intentionally insult or abuse anyone. Quite the contrary, really - I have no interest in "trolling" anyone, I want to maintain good relationships with members of those communities and it is in my interests to understand and observe the communities' etiquette/"standards", and to foster a "positive" image of my identity on those terms - and that is a product not just of what I say and do but of how others respond to me, and what they say and do too. The "costs" to me of failing to maintain that "positive" image may be different from those associated with my "real name" identity, but they exist nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous1:06 pm

    (Part 2 of 2)

    Certainly there are things I can't do under a pseudonymous identity - obtain a passport, borrow money etc - but I see those things as outside the scope of the activities I want to perform using such an identity. On the flip side, I have often found it "liberating" to express and explore ideas through this identity without some of the constraints I perceive as associated with my "real name" identity - though as I say above, I realise that ultimately that link is probably still discoverable by someone with the will and tools to do so (and technically, that is becoming easier to do).

    I've also "retired" identities over the years, sometimes actively deleting content associated with them, sometimes just letting that content slide into relative obscurity over time.

    In terms of "separation" from "physical me", these different online identities are distinct in the sense that they each represent only a partial set of characteristics, but at the same time I think they do express some cluster of aspects of "physical me" - even if in some cases it may be an aspect I don't present actively in physical space, or at least do so only under particular circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I believe that people do represent themselves truthfully as they would like to think online. I think this because in our physical forms we fall into trends and stereotypical persona's where we are subjected to behaving in a certain way around friendship groups, this can be wearing make-up, clothes, music choice and opinions. You could argue that this can also be shown through our digital self as well as our physical form which then leads me to question are we actually true to ourselves at all?

    ReplyDelete
  11. People representing themselves online could be an escape from their physical being. For new media technologies such as the internet, online users for websites like Facebook would use their homepage to their advantage and construct themselves the way they wish to be perceived. For example as we are now a media saturated society, instead of meeting with people face to face we rely on the internet, chat rooms and match.com etc. An online user would update their profile picture instead of physically or emotionally adapting themselves. Their online avatar is now their priority, their homepage is updated daily via computers or phones, reinforcing the growing technology consuming our daily lives. Because the physical self is taking a step back, the avatar representation is now in the foreground. Both are separate, however linking to Baudrillard's theory of the copy taking the original's place, it can be argued that society is too consumed and reliable on the media as our generation mediate ourselves online. We believe we are in control over what we look at on the internet and how we want to be viewd, however we are subconsciously being controlled by the media everyday, not just online, but all around us.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous2:27 pm

    I believe that the digital you is a better representation of your physical self. This is because people may only know you as your online account. Although information online can be changed, to some people this is your only identity. Differently, your physical self can be changed, this could be due to the influence of peer groups which may change the way someone wishes to be perceived, which therefore connotes a lack of truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could be right in certain contexts and this is therefore difficult to prove/disprove as we enter into consideration about personality types, issues surrounding 'truth' and also cultural/social implications. The other aspect we need to consider is ownership. Who owns truth and who defines it? If a person creates an online persona that is fake there is still a truth within that as it will reflect a 'true' feature of their personality. No one is so detached from themselves that they could create an entirely different personality from their own, unless they are schizophrenic. Furthermore, the people who engage with the 'fake' persona will perceive it as truth. Is this wrong, is there any less value in this? Could we not argue that truth is defined by the consumer rather than the creator?

      Delete
  13. In my opinion, online nobody is represented honestly. I feel this is because people tend to be who they want to be in real life online, and portray this through the computer screen. I feel that people pretend to be someone that they are not online, and therefore nobody is 'real'. Online, we talk to people we probably wouldn't talk to in real life, and lots of people get a false sense of popularity, or feel 'bigger' than they are. I don't think that many people realise that they are deliberately representing themselves as dishonest online, but obviously what people read and what their friends are doing means that they decide to act differently than they would if the situation were to crop up in real life. I feel that people 'edit' themselves online so that people see what they want them to see, rather than what would actually be seen if they were to meet upon a day to day basis. I think that some parts of what is put online is truthful, but is edited in order to be represented in a way that the person wants to be seen. I think its also important to point out that some people rely on themselves digitally, as this is sometimes the only way people get to see you and you get to represent yourself. Some people take this for granted, and therefore this is why arguments are started online.

    I think its hard to represent the 'digital you' and the 'physical you' seperate as after time these merge into one and you're lost somewhere in between. Much like Heather said, 'The physical you is much more open to interpretation; the physical you can be changed whenever you meet someone new. an individual could easily have multiple personalities that can change regularly depending on the situations and people they face'. I feel that this view is very acurate and therefore works well.

    I think its hard to say which is the most real. This is because both become merged, and what you believe to be real has been edited and changed. The physical you cannot be edited, people who see you day to day see you the same, your friends are selected and normally these dont change in a matter of hours. The digital you has 'followers' and 'friends' whom in real life may not actually be your friends. I think its important to suggest that both are real, but both are edited and adapted to suit different people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with this comment Lucy. I do not believe that people represent themselves truthfully or accurately online. Some people pretend to be completely different online than what they actually are in life. By being pretending to be someone who doesn't exist it shows that you are not 'real'. Additionally, as technology is advancing people can now talk to each other online from practically any device. This connotes that people will try to portray a different side to themselves which is 'fake' and not 'real'. Although, I do think that some of the information online is true due to it being edited to suit the needs of the viewers and to also represent themselves differently.
      As the internet is becoming a necessity in everyday life, I believe that people now rely on their 'online' self. However I do believe that trying to represent yourself online can be difficult due to you not being able to portray yourself as the 'real you.

      When referring back to Lucy's comment, I completely agree that the 'real' and online person have been merged together and there is now no difference.

      Delete
    2. The logical conclusion of your argument being that people do not represent themselves truthfully online, but our physical selves and digital selves are not separate. Therefore, no one is honest?

      Delete
    3. I think thats difficult to conclude. People are honest in some way, but edit the truth. I think that it is important to say that people are honest to those they know well in real life, but to those that they perhaps never talk to in real life, they are not as truthful.

      Delete
  14. I represent myself honestly online.
    My physical and digital personalities are part of me and make me who I am.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with your view that both of these personalities are part of you, and I feel the same. However, if both your physical and digital personalities are part of you, how do you make sure that you are represented honestly online?
      Do you feel that you ever change between who you are in real life and who you are online?

      Delete
    2. I never do, the physical me is the same as my digital me. What I say in real life I say online and vice versa.

      Delete
  15. I have read all the comments, and found the debate / discussion most thought provoking. However there is an area that I feel has not been touched upon or even explored. The idea that neither of them are real, both of the physical and digital self are a creation of what we read, what we hear and what we see. We are controlled, but most of all influenced by the media and especially what the different institutions choose to presents alternative thoughts and ideologies. We are just a vessel of amalgamation of what we hear, see and read from the media. We can only make decisions on what we know and understand, understanding comes from what information we are giving and information comes from the media - which itself mediates and narrows, choosing what and what not to include. Therefore our understanding of society and the world; ideas and thoughts is fundamentally blurred and miss construed.

    So to answer your questions, people do represent themselves honestly online, however that honest representation is misguided and affiliated with ideas that have been subconsciously influenced and obtained through the consumption of the media. The physical and digital cannot be separate as it is about what you say as much as it is about what you don't say that creates the picture of an individual in society, it is what you digests and reject that creates you both in the physical and the digital domains. Neither is real both is a creation and culmination of the misrepresentation and the miss information that has been fed and promoted by the news and television programs. We live in a era of consumption that twists our outlook on society and therefore nothing we know is real and all that we know is a creation of the hyperreal.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think that the ‘physical’ you and ‘digital’ you are completely separate. While the ‘digital’ you can edit your photos and tweets etc, the ‘physical’ you may not be open to choice as are you constantly surrounded by media which passively influences you. I don’t think many audiences are active, as environments you are in change the way you represent yourself. The ‘digital’ you however, can change and edit pages and accounts of yourself. Therefore, I think that people represent themselves dishonestly online as people can remove what is ‘bad’ about them.

    I think the version which is most real however is the ‘physical’ you. While some may passively engage media, others can challenge what is put in front of us. In my opinion, the ‘digital’ you is merely a computerised version full of photos, status’s, tweets.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree that the way you present yourself online is different to how you do in person. Looking back at Katy's comment I agree and think that people feel they can say more and get away with more online because they are not saying it to peoples faces so it wouldnt be as intimidating. However i still think that our online selves are close to how we represent ourselves phsically because i think that us online are just more emphasised versions of ourselves physically. A way to explain this is that if you are quite a secretive person then you would be more likely to not write many statuses or tweets on social sites because you don't want everyone to know what you are doing. But if you are quite an open person then you are more likely to write what you are doing and how you feel because you want everybody to see. This then represents to your friends online about what you are like when you are the physical you. Although, because you get to choose and edit what you want online, such as, people only put pictures up of them looking nice because thats how they want people to see them. We know not everyone can look great all the time but usually we just accept that this is how they look if we do not know the physical them which therefore suggests that our online selves are not totally honest. Whereas the phsical you, people see day to day, on good days and bad days suggesting that that is the real you because in person people see your real reactions, but it would be hard to see peoples true reactions online.

    I think that the online you and the physical you are not seperate at all because they are both you but just slightly different. This is because of the way that you can slightly alter what you want people to know about you or how they see you online but i dont think it is dishonest i just think that it still represents part of them but just not all of them. However, you could say that about the physical you as you only tell certain people things that you want them to know, relating back to Pat who says how 'very few people use the same language, or talk about the same topics, in front of their parents as they do in the company of their friends'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A thoughtful response Alice... if people are more willing to share online because of some 'perceived' anonymity, would that not suggest that the online version is the most real? I also wonder about how discerning people are about what they share, particularly young people. In my experience people share far more online than they do in person, perhaps again because the screen makes it feel safer/less real. This is problematic though as we can share too much.

      Delete
  18. I believe that the physical you and the online you are separate. I think that many people are more truly themselves online because they feel that they can portray how they really feel without consequence, as Alice said people often don’t voice their opinions in person as it is often intimidating. People form friendships online/follow people who have the same interests and views as they do, but in person many people are ‘friends’ with people because they have to be to make life easier, for example in the work place. However I think there is also a sense of apprehensiveness online too as people only share things that has been edited and that they want to share with others. For some, they feel they cannot be themselves in person as they will not be accepted by others surrounding them so they have to fall into stereotypes that I believe everybody does in person, however online you can be whoever you want to be and no one can judge you like they can face to face.
    People always tend to say that the real you is the one who’s physically standing before you, but how can they be when many don’t voice their true opinions because we’ve been so heavily taught what’s right and wrong and socially acceptable? For example clothing, we don’t wear something that doesn’t fit in with everyone else (excusing the few who do) we wear ‘smart’ clothing to work because everyone else does and its required but what is ‘smart’? Overall, I think it’s very difficult to be individual in any way at all in our society, as media is such a heavy influence. However online you can look how you want to look and say what you want to say without any judgements, even if this does mean that we are quite cowardice.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think depending on what the topic of discussion is, who you are talking to and what mood you are in deciphers whether or not you are honest digitally. This is because I do not think we represent ourselves honestly through our digital self when we are calm because we are able to think about what to say before we type but if someone makes you annoyed it is easier to press the send, tweet or post button. I also feel that this is the same when you are your physical self as you can easily ignore someone but if someone has offended you have a right to say something.
    Therefore, I think that your digital self is pretty much the same as physical self. Not because of different representations portrayed online but if you feel like being passive or active on the medium or message obtained or how you code switch. For example, the other day I took some photos off of Facebook from my 16th birthday party because I have been looking for a job and realized that employers look possible employees up online. Thus, this does not mean I am hiding or lying about a representation of myself on the social networking site. I just decided that it isn't me anymore to publicize having a party because as a result it was as though I was showing off and have now become passive. Unfortunately, it is now saved in my digital identity so employers could still essentially see it, but my peers will not. This conveys that my persona is changing both physically and digitally.
    Another example of code switching would be talking to my parents; sometimes digitally I may ignore them and thinking about it occasionally I would do the same physically, other times both online and offline I would tell them my opinion on matters. Normally, I do the same to my friends, but when I don’t ignore them I am probably more relaxed with my language.
    To conclude we are not dishonest we are just selective in what we do and say, as I feel that I personally wouldn't say anything rude either physically or digitally. However, I would say the physical self is the real me as I have to react straight away as you are put on the spot. Also sometimes what is written can sound unpleasant, if read in the wrong context. Lastly, I wouldn't want to display my personal details e.g. absence from home as a result of going abroad online.

    ReplyDelete
  20. (Bethany A-C)
    I don't think that the physical me and digital me are separate more like two sides of the same coin. I tend to act differently or comment differently to my friends on social networking sites than I would perhaps to people who I don't know in a social situation. I think however the digital me and physical self are close to being the same due to the fact both on the internet and in real life we have give thoughtful honest responses or socially desirable answers or may just rant at someone. I think its question of human behaviour that needs to be addressed

    For me the digital me is definitely more real as it gives me a platform to talk about interests (Doctor who) for example to like minded people and therefore give my true opinions on it as opposed to perhaps having dumb down these interests to people who aren't into the same things or don't understand certain ideas or theories.

    However I'm not going to say all people represent themselves honestly online. However even if people try to completely change and disguise themselves online or pretend to be someone else.It does seem to always end up as a self portrait anyway. I think whilst some people may change things to alter peoples perception of them they can never completely change themselves to a point where they are unrecognisable to themselves and those who know them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I agree partially with Beth said about my digital and physical self being two sides of the same coin. However, I feel that one side influences the other. I feel almost that by creating such a large digital identify, it has enabled my physical identity to grow and evolve alongside it. What I mean by this is by being exposed to such a large digital world, I have been able to come across many new and interesting things, which have shaped my personal opinions and tastes which I then portray in the physical world.
    When it comes to being honest online, I personally feel most people do not represent themselves honestly. Even though people know who you are through your avatar, or twitter account, you will still always have a level of anonymity, in the sense that people will not be able to judge your tone when you are talking to them. Furthermore, I think this then allows people to commit to things they would not do so much in the physical life. If you look at internet trolls, a majority of them would never spark up an argument at school or in the work place, yet they feel when they are behind the screen, they have a sense of power that allows them to do such thing. Is this right? I don't feel as though it is.
    I do not have a definite answer as to which version is more real. In my world, both of them are equally just as real - and I probably spend an equal amount of time in both (if not more in the digital world) However, even I have to admit, that I get a sense of comfort knowing that when behind my computer, I can always delete and re-word what I want to say before I send it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Personally, I do not think there can be a correct answer to whether people represent themselves honestly online. I think it completely depends on the person. Some people that are shy in real life and feel too frightened to express themselves and their opinions may use social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to express themselves and be honest about what they think. However, some people that are more confident may not use social networking sites for this purpose – In fact they may use it less. Moreover, some people may express themselves the same in real life and online therefore the digital self and the real them is not separate unlike some people who use the social networking sites to communicate their thoughts.
    I also think it depends on how much you use social networking sites. As people who are on Twitter, tweeting 30 times a day may come across more interesting as they have more things to say and comment upon. However, people who tweet once a week may be judged as more boring and uninteresting – although, depending on who you are this could be a false representation of yourself or an honest one. I do not think there can be a yes or no answer to whether someone presents them self as honest online as some people do and some people don’t. Additionally, the digital version of yourself and the real self is also dependant on what you’re like online. If you act online like you would in person then yes you are the same person and you are providing outsiders with an honest representation of yourself online and offline. However, if you are different in person than you are offline I think in some ways you are dissimilar because you express yourself differently. Although, it is still you – and you will always be connected.
    I think for some people the digital version of someone is more real, on the other hand, for others, the real life version may be more real. Not everyone uses social networking sites to express what they believe but not everyone chooses to say it in person. Therefore, this brings me to my overall conclusion and back again to my first point.
    Overall, I think it depends on who you are. Sometimes people do represent themselves honestly online and there is no difference between the digital self and the real self. However, some people choose to represent themselves differently online and offline which means it is not an honest representation. Therefore, it essentially just depends on the person.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I believe that the majority of people who do choose to represent themselves online do so honestly, and the 'online version' is the true version of themselves. In some cases I think that internet and social networking users may become more 'real' through their digital identity and find that it's easier to express themselves from behind a computer screen where they are comfortable, or perhaps where other people online don't know them. Most people who use social networking sites come across the same as they do in real life, this may be because their online 'friends' know them in real life, and using the internet is just another way to socialise, rather than become someone else. On the other hand some people who are shy in reality may appear to be much more confident on the internet which may lead them to become judged and called 'fake', however this online representation of a person may be more realistic than their physical self. In most cases if somebody was to act completely different online to how they act in real life, they would usually be judged for this, therefore somebody who may want to express themselves online because they find it hard to do so in real life may hold back from behaving differently online in fear of being called 'fake' or people commenting on how confident they are online when they are more reserved in reality. Overall I think that most people do represent themselves honestly online and although this isn't the case for everyone, the majority of people who use social networking sites for communication are just transforming their physical identity online as a way of socialising and sharing their opinions.
    I do believe that the physical you and the digital you are the same in most cases and that going online and representing yourself is usually the same as how you would act in real life as you're sharing the same ideas, opinions and behavior online as you do in reality. I think that someone's digital identity defines who they are as a person more than their physical identity. For example , if I knew of a person but didn't know them well I would judge them and get a basic idea of what they are like from Twitter and how they represent themselves online. In reality two people who didn't know each other wouldn't be able to know anything about the other person. However, online it's easy for someone to access someone else's profile and get an understanding of who they are from this- so in a way I agree that someone's digital self is more important than their physical self.
    Personally, I think that both the physical self and the digital self are equally as important as they are both ways to express yourself (if you are being honest). Therefore it completely depends on the individual and their behavior both online and in reality.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I agree with Immy to a certain extent, I believe that most people use social networking sites to represent themselves in a honest way to which they believe themselves to be. However I also believe that users may often use their digital identity to portray themselves the way they would like to appear that they cant express through 'real' life. This could be down to the web giving them the freedom of posting their own thoughts and opinions and actually account to something where again in 'real' life their view may not be recognised where as their digital self may have more power. This can be proven by Twitter or Vine famous people who outside the internet didn't stand out or have a 'voice' where as online people 'follow' them and listen deeply to what they have to say. It could be suggested that people recognise this and alter their online self similarly to the way digitally famous people appear creating a new type of idolisation.
    I do believe that the digital user and the physical user are the same person in the majority, however I feel that social media and the web as a whole alters the user as a whole changing some peoples views and thoughts in a way that changes the users opinions even after signing off the web. Alternatively, it could also be argued that it depends on the person. If a person is shy and self preserved physically he or she may be completely different online as they might find it a lot easier to express his or hers opinions in front of a computer screen which they might feel is a different version of themselves that they prefer. I also heavily agree with Reece in the sense that people are more socially comfortable on the web as you have time to edit what you want to say and the ability to delete something you posted before it is visible to the world or a selected few altering how people act on the internet and off it.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I personally agree with Immy to an extent, I would say that In my opinion most people do present themselves honestly online. The internet allows people to change and alter who they are and how they want to be seen but mostly on social networking sites people are presenting themselves honestly as they have their friends on there and use the internet as another way of communication. However, it depends entirely on the individual as I have seen before many people who are completely different online to in person, arguably because they may not have the confidence when in person but the computer/internet acts as a barrier of protection that they may misuse. For example, cyber bullying. In most cases the cyber bullies would probably not be as rude and vicious to their face but use the internet to express their true feelings. However, even though it depends on the person, I do find that many people do present themselves honestly online, as even though they may not be that way in person, they may find it easier to be their true self online with the protection of being behind a computer screen and not having to deal with the immediate consequences.

    I don't believe that the physical you and the digital you are separate as I agree with Reece and Beth that it's like different sides of the same coin. You are still the same person but you choose to present yourself differently online and in person, therefore I believe that they are not separate but are togethe, however different they may be.

    I believe that the digital you is the real you as online you can act yourself and have the protection of not being face to face with who you are actually talking to which increases confidence in what you say to someone. People that are very shy may seem very confident on social networking sites- this confidence doesn't come from nowhere, I believe they may feel more comfortable online as they feel protected and as though it's more anonymous. Potentially the reason why so many people are cyber bullied is because individuals feel they can say what they want without facing the consequences of what the other person will do or say back to them. Moreover, perhaps another reason why people feel more comfortable on the internet is that it gives people time to think of a response rather than responding immediately like you do in person. Consequently, I believe that although the physical you should be the real you, the digital you is more real and honest as people feel they can be themselves and express themselves freely without consequences and feel more protected from being behind a computer screen.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't think people represent themselves entirely honestly online. The internet allows people to present themselves in a different way, for example, how an individual may set up a photo they post online wouldn't be the same perception of them or what they were doing in reality. They would make themselves look better, maybe only slightly through the positioning of the shot, lighting and editing (cropping or filters), for when people online see them. People might also speak differently online as what they say can be made funnier etc as they have time to think about what they are going to say. In reality they wouldn't have as much time to think about what they were going to say before they said it. The internet can also give peolpe more confidence to say what they want as they might not think of it as talking to people in person, it could be considered more indirect. People represent themseleves as the person they want to be online even though they might not be like that in reality, the internet gives them a chance to shape their personality differently.
    I think the physical and digital you can be seperate through the way you can present yourself differently and it can be seen as some sort of escape from reality to the digital you. However, you are never really offline. Someone, for example, can still see your facebook profile when you are offline and people can still send you messages but then again if you are not online to see this then personally you would see yourself as seperate from it.
    It could be argued that the digital you is more you because you represent yourself in the way you want people to see you. You don't have as many social restrictions holding you back and the internet can give you more confidence to present yourself in a different way that's possibly more true to yourself than the person people see in reality. For example a shy person in reality might find it easier to talk to people online as there is less pressure of talking to that person face to face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that people are more honest when they are online. Being online people can experiment. In real life you are bound by the constraints of the people around you, who will judge you if you do something that is 'not stereotypical of your personality'. But when you are online, you can become whoever you want, you aren't bound with constraints. Some people that are shy may not be comfortable talking physically because they aren't confident with what they want to say truthfully but have more confident online, as they feel more protected as it is not face to face and also they have time to think what they want to say, this is why I think being online shows what the individuals personality is actually like.
      Also how accurately people present themselves online is probably proportional to how much social or peer pressure exists in the network. on Facebook, Twitter and etc, people who know you in real life can see the virtual you reducing you ability to be 'creative' about who you actually are.

      Delete
  27. The digital you and the physical you are separate although made by one person,you. Your digital self is the ideal you, the best you. I believe that people do not represent themselves online truthfully and honestly. The digital self is there so people can make themselves look the best, have the best personalities and the most interesting hobbies etc. This is because of the wide audience online which represent everyone from their online self. The web is the biggest judge of people which makes people constantly updating and improving their profiles as they want people to get the best representation of them. The Physical you is the most real and the most honest. Its the way you actually look and behave and its your actually personality. Although the physical you is altered through experiences and friends etc. it is still the real you. For example, if a person had not met you before they may search you online to find your profile. The information including hobbies, your job, your photos etc, is seen and read by them and is automatically represented and judged you. However they have judged the digital you and if they were to meet you they would have completely different representation and opinion on you by seeing how you actually look, dress and behave etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In relation to Matts point that our online self and real life self are seperate, I would disagree. I think that both self images represent the person but only the part they wish to show. For example, saying the person you are in real life is the most real is an understatement because people can be just as fake in person as they are online. If someone chooses to post an image of themselves on the internet it is because they want others to base ideas off those images to create a personality and certain characteristics better expressed in person.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. I believe that not everybody is the same therefor we cannot truly say someone doesn’t represent themselves truthfully and realistically online. We can create false images in how we look, giving people a false sense of who you are. However the same cant be said for everyone and both digital and the physical you are part of your personality.

      I do feel that people feel the need to be able to fit in therefor use social media to create a personality in which they feel like is necessary to be noticed in which case the digital you can be separate to the physical you.

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I believe that the dissolution of persona can be created through your digital self but it being separate i don't. I believe people can use there digital being as another being,just like our bodies. For example if someone is depressed and wants to make people happy or laugh they could do this through the internet using social networks to spread and develop there comedic alter ego. i believe people can falsely represent them selves but i believe this is a completely different concept to an alter ego or a digital version of yourself and people can pretend there some one else in there physical body but it would create an external being by doing so. I can also see how people may think digital you is an external being due to people create perceptions on their self that don't truly exist or represent themselves in a way there not but this can also be done in 'real' life so there for this,within time,will just become a moral and i believe people will stop doing this in time just as people don't really do it in physical reality due to morals and it being strange and awkward if you got caught out. I also believe the digital you,in some cases,may be a way to portray yourself in more of a positive light. People can create content for other to enjoy and even making a living off it,some people are better than others at this and in some cases has created a new meaning to people existence and expands others knowledge,this digital you isn't external. The representations people may get of your digital self may be external/disconnect but so are the representation people have of you in real life,its just looking at you form a different angle,thus creating it to be a different perception from a new form of expression not an individual being.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I disagree holly, personally I think that our digital selves and offline selves are different, because our online selves are a representation of us and not actually us. For example, we pick photos that we believe best represent us and make comments that we belive are interesting. Also our online selves also get involved with debates our offline selves may not experience, and possibly with people are offline selves do not even know.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I just wrote a big paragraph and then realised I wasn't logged on so it all deleted... :-/ I agree with Prentice that we can falsely represent ourselves online. However I feel this is more because this is the way that we want to be seen and or the person we want to be- reflecting on his alter ego idea. I feel that people choose the person they want to be online and this says a lot about the person they are. If a person posts a lot of pictures of themselves and materialistic things which they have bought then we will view they in an entirely different way to those who post pictures of wildlife etc. Moreover we will think differently of the person behind each account depending on the person you are.

    I disagree with Matt in the way that we don't represent ourselves truly/ honestly online to an extent because I think even if you are representing a person who is more positive etc than your online person, it is still coming from the same person and the ideas that are presented are still from the person however they may just feel more comfortable to express these online.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I agree with Jade about the debates as we have more confidence online as we can take a moment to think of a good response if we are online whereas in person you have to think on your feet so people may become a bit more key board warrior online- still the same person with the same views just more confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I just wrote like an hours work in this comment box. I then clicked publish and it asked me to sign in and then when it loaded back up all my work was gone. I'm not going to write it all out again because it was at least 600 words and it was all just on the spot thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I was pretty impressed with my initial post too......... /:

    ReplyDelete
  35. I believe that the nature of your digital self and real self differ significantly and that we gain a false sense of higher self worth through our digital persona. I agree with Steven Handel's point in "The Dark Sides of Our Digital Selves" that as a result of our digital selves we actually become more narcissistic than we are ordinarily, claiming that narcissism is a "byproduct of developing our e personalities or digital self. The fact is: due to our growing ability to customize and edit our online presence, it’s very easy to get caught in the trap of thinking we are more important than we really are". I believe that with the rise of employers checking social media for more of an insight into who they may be employing, people have become far more self concious as to what they are posting and behave out of the ordinary. In "Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism", the author describes the e personality as a form of "digital anthropology", which I also agree with and goes further to comment on how sites have been created to link us to niche social networking sites that may suit our personal tastes, in essence, we are being encouraged to induulge in social media and create digital alter egos.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I believe some people change the way they are online to meet the needs of others as they want to be socially accepted in the online world as they might think this reflects on the real world, but then theyre are some people who are exactly the same as online and reality. Now people start talking online and have a online relationship but we do not say online relationship as we don't see it as all online just because we talk on the phone but that is not reality, you could be talking to what you think is a girl but turns out to be a 50 year old man that has obtained a picture from Google of a girl and now you believe that is her because you have talked to them. Often the online world is harsh as people cant be confronted with what they say to an extent so more people have a voice online rather than in reality where they might not be confident to say something. Therefore i believe the majoirty of people online change the way they are to fit in with the "norm" and then they are the other people who are true to themselves and don't change to fit in. You can tell easily what people are different online as if you ask the question in person and online they will give 2 different complete answers depending who is around them at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Personally, I think that the physical you and digital you are entirely separate. Your digital self can be edited, such as your photos, instagram posts and tweets etc. However your physical self is unable to uses these mediation devices and therefore you may not have the choice of the way you appear, as you are constantly surrounded by media which you are passively influenced by. I don't really think that many audiences can be considered as active, as the environments that you find yourself in can change the way you represent yourself. Your digital self however, allows you to change and edit pages and accounts of yourself in order to convey a particular image. Furthermore I think that people represent themselves falsely online as people can remove what they deem "flaws" within themself.

    ReplyDelete
  38. In my opinion, i do believe that there is a difference between ones 'digital self' and their 'physical self' there can be various reasons for why people do this. My first point would be that a lot of people would like to be able to express themselves and their opinions. However in the 'real world' they would have to deal with a lot confrontation, whereas on the internet, they are able to 'ignore' or 'block out' the hate and confrontation. I imagine that they feel like they can be their real self online, the person who they actually would like to be rather than the person they have to portray themselves to be in the real world. we have to have a certain image to upkeep in todays society, in order to fit certain stereotypes and be an 'accepted' person. therefore people then become a 'post modern person' because its like they have to mediate the type of person they are as the pressures of society can be too much to deal with

    ReplyDelete