Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Public Displays Of Experimentation & The Digital Self

"Identity construction becomes a continual daily task"

- Jamal + Chapman 2008

I've got to think that the continual "status casting" and lifestreaming that is going on with the youth of today has to have an impact on identity construction in a more fundamental way than people are realizing.

Part of growing up is about taking chances. The Web to some extent has sped up that innovation and yet, on the other hand I wonder at what point the "public displays of experimentation" will have an adverse affect. Kids generally are experiential and telling them something is one thing - but something impacting them in the real world is another. Now, connected 24/7 they not only have their successes streamed live and in digital colour, but their failures as well. Their memories both good and bad are being digitally imprinted without the ability to hide them quietly as the time and distance of the event passes.

"Identities are not fixed by some core, singular, essential, universal properties. Rather they are contested, multiple and shifting and are embedded in cultural and historical practices"

- Bhatia, 2002

Except that the culture is being created at a lightening pace and the concept of history, before it is even understood, is already in the making.


Gavin Heaton said...

Interesting question.

As you point out, the public display is a form of experimentation in itself. Perhaps not for everyone, but certainly for a large percentage. I have a feeling that we are not yet equipped with the right modes of perception to understand the context of what is going on. What may seem apparent and important to us may be easily dismissed by someone living the experience.

Just as identities are not fixed by universal properties, neither are ways of perceiving.

Leigh said...

Given that the 24 and under are the first generation that has been always connected to the network (what Mr. Federman likes to call UCaPP) - it stands to reason that the effects are only beginning to be understood. This will likely have larger socio-social and cultural implications - I look forward to seeing all the Phd's that start to explore the deeper effects of networked culture.

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