Seeing Ourselves

One of the most challenging aspects of writing something online isn't knowing the time or place that a reader will see your post.
It could be 35 years from now when you are running for political office. It has a way of limiting what one wishes to express to a nameless audience. Even if that scenario is unrealistic one still finds oneself harboring the emotions associated with them.

Digital self-portraits lack immediatism, their product is for an unknown other. Even if the other comments, it is still a very detached connection. In that way, digital media is still very much like Parmigiano's Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, or another painter from that time. However, like Parmigianino, we do still have to work on an imperfect lens with which to present ourselves. No wiki or blog template will ever be a direct expression of our self-hood. And any medium will shape the identity we are trying to express whether we like it or not.

More Data, More Self?

It's true as "Seeing Ourselves Through Technology" suggests that we have now an ever growing capacity to document "our" selves with apps, Fitbit, GPS, etc. but does is this information on the self? Or does it merely represent data of little to no consequence? Perhaps, there is a middle ground, but certainly, we cannot conclude that the most documented, tweeted, blogged, Tumblr-ed, Facebook liked, life is more self-actualized than say a Buddhist monk, who documents nothing.

The Filter

Other complications associated with the digital-self include an enhanced ability to only present the most positive aspects of one's life. Minor achievements can be expressed as monumental. Only the positive get printed on the CV and only the best of the best pictures go onto a Facebook wall. These have the effect of making others feel they are not as well off as those that curate their image the best, and further have the effect of reducing the impressiveness of accomplishments that are deserving of a higher praise. We simply cannot ourselves filter out what is worthy of applause and what is not.

Death and Social Media Identity

In thinking about, "Representation or Presentation" as discussed by Jill Walker, we can extend her thoughts to include what happens to digital selves and social media accounts after the real life person dies. The accounts continue to exist, and people often unaware of the real person's demise continue to post, others who are aware of the person's death post as if continuing to speak with a real live person. There account "lives on" and that representation of the self-becomes the last representation a community of people can connect with. Not what most people envision when they first created a Facebook account.

Idenity Issues

'Loz Fisher' (or is it now Lauren Fisher?) of simplyzesty blog addresses issues associated with continuity of identity. While existing with a moniker can be seen as a challenge to identity, does it really compare to the disjointedness of time in context to an online identity? Would it make sense to change screen names with each major phase of life?

Furthermore, the purpose having a screen name is protect your identity from being stolen. It's a security measure and not an extension of a philosophical problem at its core.


Further down the rabbit hole. Learning more about the interconnectivity. Starting to enjoy playing with idenity and examining the many roles a digital presence can play in that aspect, though the issue is still sensitive. Like ice cream on a bad tooth.

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