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« Baudrillard, Identity and the Online World | Main | PRSA Teleseminar Next Week »

May 19, 2007



Wonderful article. I read it because it came up as the sole result when I Googled the subject line of a spam that I received this evening - a line taken from your text:

All of the meanings of "figurant" contain a relation with others, and all contain a fluidity of role that together are apt characterizations for the multiple, contingent identities we perform online.

And the sender's name...was "Slapstick." The subject line was easily the eeriest and most intriguing I've ever seen on a piece of spam - it was almost as if it had become self-aware! Particularly with that sender's name...



Guillaume du Gardier

Hey, now you're definitely back ! Great article, thanks for sharing it here.

David Phillips

I have been slow to catch up.

There are some points that I would make.

First is that people on and off line are different in different contexts. We have a repertoire of 'selves'.

Is the self driven by (dopamine surge) power values or a slice of chocolate cake values?

My shorthand for this is Social Frames which is that, at a moment in time, an actor is cognitive through environment, interactive capability and value systems.

In ubiquitous communication environments there is the potential for the (many) values systems of the individual interact with other's value systems in a nexus of common interest (a relationship). Of the values systems at play, some may be interpreted as Weber's power theorum. But the extent to which this is true is dependant of the value systems at play.

The individual may be capable of 'joining' diverse - sometimes conflicting - groups. Analysis of the Usenet interactions that lead up to the Battle for Seattle showed this in spades when anarchist and Christian sat at the same table with the environmentalist among others, each with a long spoon and ended up with an agenda and action none desired. They all lost power. Today social media and communication is even more available and ubiquitous. There are many more 'selves' and values at play.

So, I think that using Weber in the online context when so many more groups, 'selves' and value systems can come into play may be too simple.

"It is not just the successful group that prevails, but the individuals who have a propensity to form such groups" (R M Dawes, A van de Kraght and J M Orbell (1990) in Beyond Self Interest).

Perhaps there is a psychology that is 'of the Internet' in its own right.

I am fascinated by Quartsz & Sejnowski (2002)Liars Lovers and Heroes published by Quill. It helps point the way a lot.

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