Self and Screen: Digitality, Virtuality, and the Construction of Identity

Since the publication of Sherry Turkle's landmark book Self and Screen: Digitality, Virtuality, and the Construction of Identity, the way computers are used and perceived in the world has undergone significant changes. Instead of giving a computer "commands," people engage in conversations, navigate virtual environments, and create a variety of virtual experiences. Additionally, the computer's ability to influence psychology is not limited to one-to-one interactions between people and machines. Today, millions of people communicate with one another using devices linked by networks. where it is now possible to speak to one another, exchanging ideas as well as feelings, while taking on different personae of one’s own creating.

This analysis highlights the narratives that back the current technological surge with consideration of the variety of representations from which identity is perceived. What is noted are the advantages and disadvantages of online presentation of self, unitary and disjointed identities, related theories effects of the technological divide on individuals as well as society and in relation to identity

Self and Screen: Digitality, Virtuality, and the Construction of Identity is indeed not anything about our PCs, but fundamentally about people as well as the way computers have caused a reassessment of identities in us during this era of the Internet. More people are turning to the use of Life on the Screen for engaging in other practices in thinking about identity, self and existence. Basically, computers have revolutionized evolutionary thought, aspects of relationships, the political sphere and gender issues.

Turkle draws a suite of border line dialogue, engaging the audience with the narrative of the shifting influence of the computer on the psychological life of an individual as well as the evolution of ideas concerning machines, bodies, minds. That which is on the rise, says Turkle, is another awareness of identity which can be both distributed and manifold. The author gives an evaluation of the trends in the design of computers, advances in the field of artificial intelligence, as well as in personal experiences in virtual settings which substantiate a remarkable change in peoples’ concepts of being, and existence. The computer has become an artifact which humbles postmodernism greatly.

In almost twenty years of field study, Turkle has been observing as well as participating in environments in which computes and people meet each other; the author has investigated the experiences of people while they use computers; but, from a particular meaning, Turkle manages to all together interrogate the computers too. She reflects upon some of the most relevant investigations and that which comes up is the narrative of the manner that our interactions with computers have entirely altered peoples’ minds as well as their hearts. The examination of the recently developed simulation culture together with the border between what is human and what is considered as technology. Turkle’s discourse is an intensely engaging as well as a precisely articulated one that integrates cultural breakdown, psychoanalytic analysis, alongside some of the knowledge of computers as well as communications.

According to Turkle, the notion of virtual reality as well as the visual of the various styles of interface represent and personify the postmodern imaginations (Davis, 1999). These postmodern artistic ideals, simulated realities, and role playing form other alternate self. (Davis, 1999). The present day self is distinguished as not centered, virtual, momentary, illusive, and deficient in essence (Walker, 2000). With postmodernists such as Turkle, neither a central reality or central self exists; we only have short-term outside understanding with this outside is to be surveyed through investigation and movement (McCorduck, 1996).

As a result of the demise of conventional communities, navigation of the self is now free to use various interactions that do not refer to a constant, fixed central self (Walker, 2000, p. 100). The meaning of identity which comes out of people’s affiliation with computers as well as their online experiences becomes a flowing, compound character which is not centered (Turkle, 1995b). This is an existence in a condition of continual structuring and restructuring with every reality about self giving way to impulsive, curious satire.

The direction of Sherry Turkle’s theories have from the beginning been adapted to the notion that people’s online experiences question how an individual views themselves and the traditional idea of self and identity. (Shen, 2001; Turkle, 1997b). Turkle proposed that how an individual sees nature, community as well as their perception of self and identity may all together be altered by the compound and eventually arbitrary quality of online interactions” (Singer, 2009, p. 1018). In her work, Turkle’s theories have not changed at all over time and it is only noted that her fundamental questions about the interaction between people and technology have changed focus.

This focus can be seen to change from the effects of technology on peoples’ activities to the impact of technology on people themselves. (Shen, 2001). Turkle’s theories have always been based on the relationship between technology and the individual lives of people. Her theories examination the impact of technology on how people construct and face their identity (Beaumont, 2005; Turkle, 1995).

As such, the author reviews, analyzes, and recapitulates both pertinent works and scholarly writing on identity, social agency representation, and community (Johnson et al. 620). In the end, this author postulates that the analysis of self-representation on the world wide web represents a significant and noteworthy scholarly task because this may help us in understanding how we represent ourselves, being affected by others in cyberspace, as well as what such representations may imply for our knowledge of ourselves, our societies, our cultures, as well as our future as a society both in the local and global sense. (Bond, et al. 297).

The meaning of friendship has definitely been changed by technology. Most people record many of the things which happen to them majorly through photographs. These recorded memories and activities get posted on one or the other social media networks. These shows that friendship gets bonded many traditional aspects, however, one may also wonder if this type of friendship ever loses sight of one another, because this has always been one of the realities of friendship. A significant element of friendship’s unknown region. Before this much advancement in technology, friends knew all the time that they would move with life and even all the remarkable friendships had to become only memory.

This aspect about friendship before the dawn of computers and the internet together with social media emphasizes the idea that friendship in the period before social media was perhaps an illusion. Social media has become a means of promoting self, and a vehicle for establishing the idea of self within the social domain with other people possibly not knowing one at all. This represents a big change in the meaning of friendship. There was the aspect of friendship that it was an ideal shared only by the two friends or in some cases by groups, but still it was local, and this represented a powerful part of friendship. At present, just as in the past, loyalty is considered to be a very significant factor of friendship. Technology has however led to the questioning of the concept loyalty to ways of life and even friendship. But the one form of loyalty which means a lot is the understanding that friends will always be friends.

The relationship of friendship does not really have anything to do with other people, with self-image or updates in status. The idea of friendship has been changed by the instant, persistent character of postmodern information and communication technology. It has replaced the traditional aspects of friendship such as listening and feeling to online clicks. In summary, the issues resulting from the impact of technology on the meaning of friendship include addiction to social networks, which gives an illusion of real friendship. In the course of time, people start to falsely believe that genuine, person-to-person friendship can be replaced by the superficial connection and fulfillment available through social networks. People are increasingly defining themselves with relation to digital presence.

The advancement in technology as it is known has resulted in to a new awareness of the way people themselves as well as the interaction with other individuals. This wrestling with identity is exhibited in the using of social media and the choices which we make in relation to the way we present ourselves to "followers" and "friends" together with the information people decide to share. All social media identities are an identity construction which portrays the person as well as the way they define themselves within a particular context.

This presentation of self using both public as well as private persona may frequently result in to an obscuring of the boundaries between public and private life displays, and consequently a person's identity is changed by the online, promoted self. This aspect without doubt leads to questioning of the notions of self, identity and authentic presentation, as well as pressure from society. In addition to this, current technology blurs the boundaries between that which forms and online representation and also that which forms the real-life. This constantly changes and evolves an individual’s comprehension of the application of technology to identity.

Examining the cultural as well as the rational compulsions which influence the individual and social philosophy which drives the virtual reality and associated identity revolution cannot be considered only as a simple consequence of emerging technology and its availability. We must ask ourselves how this current technology and media have influenced the rational outlook as well as cultural presentations in postmodern life. The forms of social groupings and social interactions within the sphere of social media have produced a variety of possibilities for creation of identities and representations of self which cannot be overlooked. The presentation of self has been greatly influenced through the constant networking of worldwide technology but it can never be conclusively established whether this is communal or individualist philosophy.

The social element of communication technologies and social media can be equated to both communal and individual concepts. It may well be said that one is dealing with an entirely distinct type of community in the social media presentations, perhaps a community which is even more closely related to a momentary state of conditions which become visible only in the course of ritualized online representations. It is possible to view these issues either from the perspective of the distinctive position of technologies in changing and structuring our experiences, or consideration of technology to be a consequence of culturally and socially mediated choices which come before it. Technology can subsequently be seen as society personified. The social media platform then becomes an outcome of a contest which has already occurred.

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