Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Internet Identity

This letter from the new Adbusters issue is making me rethink this whole blog thing:

"Social Networking Sites (SNSs) promise limitless, boundless friendship – a phenomenon that should make us happier than ever. But our optimism over connectivity has gradually morphed into cynicism and resentment. It turns out virtual life is less about connectivity than self-branding."

It's true that much of social networking's appeal derives from the desire to construct a certain identity, but I don't think that's a bad thing, necessarily.  Consciously cultivating a certain identity, such as being a good student or athlete, can have positive effects on motivation and decisionmaking.  Embarrassment caused by a deviation from that identity, such as failing a test, can be self-correcting.  SNSs might magnify the effects of embarrassment and pride, but the core issue remains the quality and characteristics of the identity itself.

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