Friday, February 8, 2013

On Identity

Thanks to the internet, we've learned over the years (and had it driven home with the whole Te'o fiasco), we can be anyone.  We can be any version of unreal we want -- whether it's simply the best possible version of ourselves or someone entirely different.

We've been trained in the Lady Gaga school of Identity: reveal enough that interests people, and you can control the questions they ask.  You can end up an entirely different person, simply by marshaling what you share and what you choose to keep a secret.

This pliability of identity can be liberating, and to some extent, it can be amazing.  But, of course, it also has its negative upshots -- complete anonymity and shifting identity lets people believe they can't be held responsible for the things they do...in spite of the fact that, very often, you can.

But the fact of the matter is that I can be the best, wittiest, happiest version of myself on the internet... more so than I ever could be in the offline world.  Even the name I use in my blog is a partial construction, pruned to be the person I choose to be.

I'm still tossing this idea around, but I think this idea of constructed identities is really necessary.

Identifiably yours,
Rachel Leigh

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