Is Technology Stealing Our (Self) Identities?

After exploring Morozov’s and Zielinski’s concepts in relation to the Internet- the manipulation of the users and the use of data by advertising companies to sell products, I wanted to then explore the idea of the self and how identities are being shaped and affected by the Internet. This will be done in the hopes of exploring why people continue to share information online and whether they are actually aware of what happens when they share too much information.

Quote 1: ‘Popular culture, through the latest media, no longer holds a mirror to reflect our self-identities. Nor does it provide feedback about how grounded our self-identities are in the reality of our lives. Instead, popular culture manufactures “portraits” of who it wants us to be. Tapping into our most basic needs to feel good about themselves, accepted, and attractive, popular culture tells us what we should believe about ourselves’ (Taylor, 2011).

Popular culture in this case is portrayed through the Internet which acts as a medium for manufacturing of ideals in relation to how people see themselves and behave both online and offline. This relates to an earlier post on the ‘standardization’ of the Internet mentioned by Zielinki because by creating repetitive symbols and thus setting similar ideals, the Internet manages to set a standard of the ‘norm’ which dictates what people should aspire to. Since the medium itself is completely public, it manages to convey how people should behave in order to feel accepted in the modern society.

Quote 2: The problem is that the self-identity that is shaped by popular culture serves its own best interests rather than what is best for us. Additionally, self-identity is no longer self-identity, meaning derived from the self, but rather is an identity projected onto us by popular culture and in no way an accurate reflection of who we really are’ (Taylor, 2011).

I found this quote extremely important because it highlights the concept of an ideal identity that is projected onto us and not created by us. Thus, because we shape our identity in relation to what is projected or ‘expected’ from us, we can easily be manipulated into becoming a society controlled by interests of those in power and these interested tend to be driven by consumption and money gained through consumption of the people.

Quote 3: ‘technology, with its constant demands to collect (friends and status), and perform (by marketing ourselves), in some ways undermine[s] our ability to attain what it promises-a surer sense of who we are and where we belong’  

I think this was mentioned in his article to accentuate the fact that  we are becoming a society that has lost a sense of who we are. Our identities are governed and are constantly persuaded to purchase one thing or another which in the end made us loose a grip on understanding ourselves. This hinders us to reflect on our actual needs.

Quote 4: ‘The line between person and persona, private and public self become blurred or erased completely and the so-called self-identity becomes a means of our acceptance and status’ (Taylor, 2011).

This was another quote that I found interesting as it could be related to the fact that nowadays the technology that we use has become more ambiguous and less straightforward which has made us unable to actually understand how to use it and control what we share and don’t share online. This is why the line between the public and private has become blurred as we no longer know what information that we share remains private or is shared publicly without our awareness. The technology itself records and shares information that we don’t necessarily purposely share such as our location which further blurs this line. I do really want to explore these concepts further in order to get a better understanding of what I want to portray in my website.

Bibliography:

Taylor, J. (2011). Is Technology Stealing Our (Self) Identities?. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jim-taylor/is-technology-stealing-ou_b_910544.html [Accessed 22 Sep. 2016].

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