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November 29, 2005


David Phillips

Well, the psychology will tell us there are many Elizabeths. The experience of the web is that people assume many identities (try doing content analysis of a chat room and it is very revealing) and so we have to live with the idea.
In fact we not only have identities but they change from time to time, in different environments and because of interactivity capabilities and because we choose to include/suspend what we know from time to time (I think pollution is bad and yet fly round the world and eat exotic meals with thousands of food miles attached to it).

Perhaps we live in many and varied cultural spaces at different times and at the same time.

Elizabeth Albrycht

To me, the idea of multiplex identity is a rather positive, freeing one.

Harry Chittenden

Great post, Elizabeth, but you are approaching the problem from the inside out. Your identity is a construct of what others think of you, and you have a lot of control over what they think.

First of all, there is no real world Elizabeth (rwE) from the point of view of other people, just a virtual Elizabeth (vE). Even if you were here with me, sitting in my lap, you would still be vE because you are in my mind not real, but a mental model. I'd have more sensory information than I do about the online you, but you'd still be just a model of particular attributes in my mind that I tag as "Elizabeth." The more interaction I have with you, the more attributes are added to you, your "brand."

The little things that change about you affect your brand, your reputation virtually not at all. You change your hair style, buy a Mac, take up jogging: your model in my mind changes very little.

"Ah, that's Elizabeth," my mind reassures me.

However, big things make a difference. Big things are principles, and if you make a change there, my mind model of Elizabeth will change. Steal someone else's material, lie, make ill-founded assertions, the vE of my mind will be radically different.

Fortunately, we can control our reputations to the extent that we establish principles and stick to them.
Harry Chittenden

Martin Dugage

Aren't multiplexed identities desirable? I tend to believe that you have as many identities as social communities you belong to, and that you are the only person who can make the connection between the various facets of the extremely complex inner world that constitutes Elizabeth Albrycht as a person. Your blog will never be more than a vague image of one facet of your personality, which is far richer than anyone -including yourself- can imagine. I also think it is better that way ;-)

Elizabeth Albrycht

Thank you for all of your comments. I have more thinking to do on this subject, and will certainly be writing more about it.

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