"In [Tricia] Wang’s theory, a network like Facebook, which enforces real name registration and consists of a person’s friends and family from time immemorial, encourages bounded use. It’s like the small town you never left, the grammar school class you couldn’t pass out of, the first dead-end job. It’s a network mired in past and present, and by its nature it enforces a limited sense of identity and expression.
By contrast, something like Tumblr encourages unbounded use. It allows you to experiment and play. It’s the big city, and each new tumblelog you create is like a new bar or neighborhood where you can try on a new self and see how it fits. In one instant you can be a pug lover, reblogging the best animated GIFs of the flat-faced dogs. In the next, you can dive deep into the Go Pro snowboarding community and post snaps from your latest run.
Hence Wang’s notion of the elastic self. Like rubber bands, when we step into Tumblr we can stretch and reshape ourselves into different configurations. Each new hat we try on stretches the rubber band just a little bit further, and over time it might evolve into a new configuration. This allows for remarkable opportunities to explore different potentials of self and self-expression."
oh i love it i love it i love it. i love it. yes. thank you tricia. thank you.
From An Xiao Mina’s The Social Ties That Unbind (via kenyatta)
I’m really big into talking about identity creation and the internet. This will be rumbling around my head for a while.
I love Tricia. My friends are so smart. This is spot on.
Good stuff from my friend T (who keeps a couple dozen Tumblrs as I do).
"Possible Selves represent individuals’ ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming, and thus provide a conceptual link beteen cognition and motivation. PSs are the cognitive components of hopes, fears, goals, and threats; they give the specific self-relevant form, meaning, organization, and direction to these dynamics. It is suggested that PSs function as incentives for future behavior and to provide an evaluative and interpretive context for the current view of self."
Markus, H. & Nurius, P. (1986, Sept). Possible Selves. American Psychologist, 41(9): 954-969.
I tested this theory of identity development in online environments in my Masters research. Markus and Nurius’ work provided a framework for how we choose which new aspects of our desired or undesired selves we test online - a safe, relatively consequence-free space - and whether they are adopted into the offline self.
It’s a very satisfying and parsimonious theory, and appears to be apt both online and off.
"The use of social media is heading towards the convergence of our virtual and real selves."
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, in the 2011 article, Sharing to the power of 2012 in The Economist
Facebook: “authentic” identity?
"He externalised what was important for him, so he would have the cues he needed to remember something later."
Prof Viktor Mayer-Schonberger of the OII, in a review of his book, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age from The Guardian.
as an aside: this explains why I am “cryptic” on Twitter. i explicitly use the service to externalise things that will trigger - for me and for me alone - a whole memory i can recall later.
More from the review:
The overabundance of cheap storage on hard disks means that it is no longer economical to even decide whether to remember or forget.
“compelling institutional forgetting”
So much of our past is so readily retrievable in the digital age that we can’t help but stumble across things we’d do better to forget.