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Tag Archives: identity

I Need You

**Update** Craig and I have decided to partner on a video project wherein we interpret how the digital city talks when we walk (code named Duran Duran Ate My iPhone-DDAMi).  Thanks to those of you who filled out the survey and gave me input.  Unless someone objects, I might put together the skills/software/hardware info you gave me into a list of some kind and share it with the class.


So I’m genuinely torn between two options for the next travelogue.  You’ll find explanation and a survey with a request for partners behind the cut.

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Creating the Virtual Body: Long Live the New Flesh!

As this travelogue is a week shorter than I thought, and it took me much longer to make a non-horrific Second Life avatar than anticipated, I’ve had to scale the scope of the project way back (the furry post is gone, sorry).  I’ve decided to focus on the actual act of creation, instead of how those bodies go on to potentially lived experiences. Read More »

Our Avatars, Ourselves: How Do We Construct Bodily Identity on the Internet?

Most people think of their virtual identity as being made solely of their words and actions:  this is my blog post, this is my handle, this how I fight trolls, so this is who I am.  It’s almost the perfect end to the Cartesian mind/body split–the body types, the mind is the identity.  However, I’m interested in how the body is present in the virtual realm.  Most people with an online identity have some sort of visual signifier, usually in the form of an avatar.  What we have here is a pretty basic example.  While a lot of us either haven’t gotten a gravatar yet or are using pictures of themselves, that’s not universally the case.  Mine comes from the TV show QI.  Elisa’s is kitties.  I can’t tell what Gabriel’s or H-Man’s are because they’re tiny, but it’s probably not their faces.  They are all an attempt to say something about who the user is, even in the case of regular face shots (I’d assume you all think they’re quite good pictures of yourselves and not random, potentially unflattering, shots [it sounds like I'm saying they're really ugly, but really they're all too tiny for me to tell]).

We’re all associated with the visual image we put out on the internet, just like a physical body (true story:  I have a facebook friend whose picture was, at one point, some scary painting of an old sea captain.  One night I had a dream that he was in [not that kind of dream], and his face was the sea captain’s face.  It was completely normal in the dream, but horrifying when I woke up.)  The only difference is, we have complete control over our digital bodies.  How, then, do we construct our physical identities on the internet?  While I could focus entirely on lj icons and the like, which are typically non-humanoid, I’m focusing on how we make humanoid avatars to correspond with our actual bodies.  Are they always idealized, or do they correspond to our real bodies?  How does internet romance work with an unrealistic avatar being the only visual component?  Is the possibility of an idealized body liberating, or is it destructive?  These are the main questions I’m interested in looking at, but I’d love to hear suggestions for more.

Virtual Bodies or TwitRage: Two Ideas for Travelogues

I have two ideas for travelogues.  One is really really interesting, but doesn’t fit the topical requirements particularly well.  The other is not nearly as interesting, but pretty topical (so topical I don’t even know the topic yet!).  So I thought I’d throw both out there and see what sticks.

My first, interesting idea is to look at how we present ourselves as digitized bodies in the virtual world via avatars, and how we use this to construct identity and perform social roles.  In order to make this more or less fit the prompt, I plan to embed myself in Second Life (or another program if anyone has suggestions–I’ve never played Second Life before) to see how these ideas function in the virtual world.  I already have post topics, with their embedded activities, planned out:  one post will focus on how we construct ourselves through the creation of an avatar, one will focus on romance in the digital realm, and one will focus on creation of imaginary, idealized bodies (by looking at, God help me, furries).

It is an idea that’s fairly relevant right now.  As internet usage grows we construct ourselves more and more through our digital persona, and the visual representation of that is a large part of our identity.  It’s been getting some cultural play, like the music video for “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar” (I’m saving the embed for the romance week) or the upcoming James Cameron film Avatar.  But it’s not something that’s specifically relevant this week, so I don’t know if it will count (please let me write about this!  I have post titles planned out and everything!)

If that doesn’t work, I can focus on Twitter as a social activism tool.  This is assuming that the internet is going to get all het up over something in the next few weeks, but come on:  it’s going to happen.  A few recent examples would be the TwitRage over the Jan Moir article in the Daily Mail about Boyzone member Stephen Gately’s death, or the protesting against superinjunction placed against The Guardian over reporting on a Parliamentary question regarding Trafigura (side note:  does anyone else find that Twitter tends to focus disproportionately on British things, or do I just follow a lot of Brits?  The X Factor does take over trending topics every week).  I’ll also look at how it works on a micro level, such as corporations using Twitter searches to find and address customer service issues (I once saw UPS find a package for someone after they complained about it on Twitter.  Trufax.)

So, I feel like either one of those will work, but the first one is a lot more interesting.  Any suggestions on which one I should write about, or topics to cover within them?

The Secret Public Diary of Katie Couric

Good evening, I’m Katie Couric.  You may be wondering how I’m typing you this message when I’m about to go on the air as the anchor of the CBS Evening News in a matter of minutes.  You’re also probably wondering why I’m participating on your blog.  I am a serious journalist.  I ask the questions!  Shut up!  (Insert heavy eye blinking.)  I’m just kidding.  In truth, I’m here to learn from you, and possibly teach you something.  I find that teaching, or even reporting, is  a difficult enterprise as the first solo female anchor of a network nightly news cast.

“I could announce one morning that the world was going to blow up in three hours and people would be calling in about my hair!”

Yes, my boobs garner more attention than my journalism.  I cover the friggin world, and I’m not wearing a bra.  Viva la revolucion*!

*That’s Spanish for eat my panties, Leslie.

How do you know if she’s faking it?

For Travelogue Numero Dos, I’d like to explore “fake blogs.”  These bonbons of the blogosphere attempt to hide the identity of their authors, allowing them to lob harsh criticism with little fear of reprisal.  I have three fake blogs in mind (two half-dead, one living), each polarizing in their own right.  I’m open to suggestions of others to examine, or I’d consider stamping my passport for just one.  Here are the three at the moment: Read More »

Networking the Gay Male

          Social networking sites have been a booming business in the recent years especially with the more prominent sites such as Myspace and Facebook, and although social networking isn’t altogether a new thing, these versions have brought social networking to a whole new level through the use of new media.  These sites have also opened up the door to other entrepreneurs to find their own audiences to entice through social networking that caters to a particular social subset.  For me, this brings about my interest in new media’s part in the creation of identity for a new generation, as well as questions about the positive or negative impacts of exclusionary social groups. Read More »