Over the last few weeks we have been discussing the ‘creation’ of our online identities, personas, etc. I envision us all constructing and formulating these personal ‘golems’ that represent us in a digital world. imbued with our digital essence compiled from a seemingly infinite mishmash of previous digital activity. Past pictures, internet searches, online shopping patterns, all contribute to our digital representatives. Unfortunately most of the stories of the golem don’t end well. Often the creation intended to help and provide protection decays and turns on its master, resulting in pain, misery, and unwanted email solicitation for debt reduction services….
In her article: Exploring Digital Identity: Beyond the Private Public Paradox, Stacey Koosel explores the idea of creating a digital self. Likening it to a mask Koosel suggests that individuals may actually have more than one identity that they don when navigating different digital environments shifting and changing like a ‘chameleon’ (Koosel, 2013, Pg. 157)
Koosel goes on to identify some interesting aspects of the digital identity as it evolves from private to public and then at times back to private. Transcending mediums is the term she uses to explore the movement of an identity from one of tentative privacy on the web, to one of overt publicity. Also explored are the ideas of surveillance vs transparency in our online environments.
Most interesting to me was Koosel’s discussion on the idea of informational self-determinism. While not developed in great detail the terminology itself yielded a tremendous amount of very interesting thoughts on the management of identity online. The idea that something least of all a persons identity can be managed once it is placed online seems counter-intuitive. The very idea of the internet and social media, to me, is one of sharing, and co-ownership. Placing something in a shared environment risks both interpretation and formation of what we share.
Runnel, P. (2013). Exploring Digital Identity: Beyond the Private Public Paradox. In The digital turn user’s practices and cultural transformations (pp. 154-166). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH.