In Dick Hardts video he discusses the idea of identity. What is identity? I, like he stated in the beginning of his presentation, always viewed identity as being who you are. Your identity is who you are, but what does that all really mean? There are different categories that your identity can fall into almost, the one you create, and the one others create for you. Your identity consists of what your name is, how old you are, where you live, where you went to school, where you were born, etc. But what about the identity you shape for yourself? Your interests, your opinions, even the choices you make, isn’t that all a part of identity? Can’t you identify with certain groups and organizations, doesn’t that equal your identity?

Identity online is different though, you can make all that up if you wanted to. You can create your own version of yourself, the one you want others to see, you can change the things about yourself that you can’t change in real life. When you’re born into this world you are given a name, a sex, and a number, which can’t be changed. Well I suppose technically you can, you can change your name and your gender, but you were still created by your parents and given a number that is the foundation of your identity. You can only change so much about your appearance in real life, but this new form of technology and “space” allows you to create yourself in entirely different light. You can choose what you want to expose and what you don’t. You can decide who you want to be and where you live and what you “look like”. And you can do this over and over again and have tons of new “identities” on different sites and different spaces.

This new opportunity creates an identity crisis. When in these virtual spaces you don’t know who, or what you’re talking to. You have no proof, no reassurance that the person you’re speaking with is actually who they say they are. There’s no way to verify, no way to identify the person behind the screen. Which can be scary, but some people need that escape and this is a way for them to do so. Your identity shapes you but you also shape your identity.


Erin Dennison