Personal Identity and the Internet

1423 Words6 Pages
Personal Identity and the Internet

Technology is changing rapidly. Now more than ever before, the Internet plays a vital role in everyday life. With the click of a mouse, people all over the world can exchange information with one another almost instantaneously. This changing technology allows people to broaden their horizons, exploring different cultures and learning new information. In addition to learning about others, the Internet provides people with a means of learning about themselves. Online, they can assume different identities, exploring multiple facets of their personalities. In the words of Justin Lewis, a student at the Ohio State University who frequently chats online in multi-user domains, “When you are online, you are who you pretend to be.” This brings up an interesting question: Does the ability to assume multiple roles online have a significant effect upon a person’s sense of self? According to Sherry Turkle, author of Life on the Screen, the role of computers in people’s daily lives has a huge impact on how they perceive themselves, and there is much evidence to support her viewpoint. Clearly, the rapidly changing technology has an effect on the way people see themselves, redefining their identities in the age of the Internet.

“Online, I feel completely confident in myself,” says Justin Lewis. “I am normally very shy and reserved, but in chatrooms, I talk to everyone. I spend hours online talking to people, but in reality, there is no way that I would have the confidence to start a conversation with a stranger.

Being online, I am able to act the way I wish I could in real life.” This holds true for many Internet users. Being online gives them a chance to overcome any inhibitions they many have in ...

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...today, the opportunities to grow as a person are endless.

Works Cited

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihalyi. “The World of Self.” Signatures: An Anthology for Writers. Ed. Lorraine Granieri. Mountainview, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999.

Goldworth, Robert. The Examined Life Online Philosophy Journal. Available Online:

http://examinedlifejournal.com/archives/vol2ed7/GoldsworthHumeandKantessay.shtml, 7 May 2002.

Lewis, Justin. Personal Interview. 4 May 2002.

Maguire, Drew. Personal Interview. 5 May 2002.

Rheingold, Howard. “Cyberhood vs. Neighborhood: Community” Signatures: An Anthology for Writers. Ed. Lorraine Granieri. Mountainview, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999.

Turkle, Sherry. “Identity Crisis.” Signatures: An Anthology for Writers. Ed. Lorraine Granieri. Mountainview, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999.
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