Friday, June 4, 2010

Creating Ourselves in the Minds of Others Through Social Networks

This following is an edited compilation of my tweets from June 2 on the topic: The Psychology of Social Networking (#psysn). The image is from a January 2009 post.

Every single tweet we send, no matter what its overt topic, is part of an ongoing story we are telling about ourselves.

Part of the addictive nature of social networks is the compulsion to stay alive in the minds of our audience.

We've transformed ourselves psychologically from private citizens to public figures on the stage of the social network.

Pervasive self-disclosure via social networks leads us to experience less the life we live and more the story we tell.

The net-privacy we seek is the power to manage the story we tell the world about ourselves.

Of course, the story we try to tell may be different than the story that's received.


Extropia DaSilva said...

This reminds me of a quote from Wired's Steven Levy:

“no matter how innocuous your individual tweets, the aggregate ends up being a scary-deep self portrait”.

There was also an interesting NewScientist article this week, which talked about various plans to gather so much personal information about a person, their avatar could effectively 'be' them, allowing friends and family to carry on interacting with a loved-one even after the original died.

Extropia DaSilva said...

The title of this entry reminds me of Kenneth Graham's 'Saturated Self'. The idea is that communications technology has enabled our ‘selves’ to be partially copied into the minds of others, and bits of their mind become integrated with our own. This is probably an extension of 'symbolic interactionism', which says your 'self' is not something you are born with, but rather something you acquire through interactions with others. 'Saturated Self' is summed up neatly by this quote from Graham himself:

“we live in each other’s brains, as voices, images, words on screen. We are multiple and we include each other”.

Robward Antwerp said...

There is also another NewScientist article regarding virtual identity in thier upcoming cover story "The Real Avatar" it leads off with the video titled Body Transfer Illusion:

Botgirl Questi said...

Extropia: I tend to think of the big "S" Self as the real-time sentient being who experiences all of the transient identities, stories, attributes, etc. From that viewpoint, the Self (sentient being) doesn't live in other brains, etc. any more than the actual tree lives in a photograph.

Robward: I love experiments like the one you shared. For me the main paradigm-shifting power of being an avatar in a virtual world is the opportunity to differentiate what we experience as reality from what we know to be true.