The Terms Multiple Identity and Virtual Identity

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This essay is written to represent what has been tackled in my group’s presentation.

It is human nature for both youngsters and adults to portray one or more than one identity. Some people like to show their ethnic identity, while others prefer to depict multiple identities. The terms “multiple identity” and “virtual identity” are often overlapped; but there is a major difference in meaning. When one presents multiple identities, he/she is able to embody multiple identities simultaneously but within boundaries, unlike virtual identities. Another difference is that portraying multiple identities happens in real life, unlike virtual identities, which happens in the virtual online world. For example, a 36-year-old lady can have multiple identities, for instance, a mother, a lawyer, a sister and a friend, but cannot be a 60-year-old woman or man. However, people can form a character of their own (computer-generated identity) when using the Internet. Virtually, a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man. A youngster can be old, and the old can be youngsters. This kind of identity which is more fluid and performed, and where the subject is embodied is called “virtual identity” (Benwell & Stokoe, 2006).

Linguists have carried many studies regarding virtual identities and adolescence. The vast majority of scholars have agreed on the reasons behind adolescence constructing virtual identities in online media. The most significant reason is the fact that teenagers at the age of puberty are in a phase of exploring themselves and knowing more about identities. This point was also developed sociologically.
Within the social interactionist perspective, adolescents take on the roles of others through playful stances where they assume diffe...

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...people internationally and learn about other cultures. Most youngsters are keen on Korean media, and therefore, they are learning to read and write in Korean. Language wise, English, Korean Arabic, Arabinglish and features of netspeak is used when they virtually communicate. In spite of the freedom they have in virtual worlds, they still show great care for their ethnic identity by writing religious quotes in Arabic and by defending their religion.

It is worth noting that teenagers nowadays are beginning to watch Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian drama. What might be the reasons behind Saudis moving to Eastern drama rather than Western drama? Are there Ethnic similarities between Saudis and Eastern people? Will they love them as much as they love Koreans? Will they learn their languages? These questions are worth exploring in further researches.

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