Internet Identity


Internet Identity Essay, Research Paper

It is certain that the Internet impacts a person`s sense of identity. As humans,

we are live by language, and as an Internet user, one submits himself to an

existence that is pure language: written, audio, and visual language. This

reality, distilled down to pure language, is appealing to most people. There is

no violence online. There are no social expression norms. A person can be, say,

or do precisely as he chooses. More than 131 million people populate the

Internet. Why is VR so attractive? When a person is born, many things are

decided for him. No one is asked if their name or visage adequately describes

his person or psyche. His genetic makeup is created from that already contained

in his parents, and they dress and feed him with things they personally enjoy.

It is many years later before he can begin to make decisions about who he is,

and by then, so much has been laid down as factual evidence to the content of

his character. The Internet has now permeated our society. Someone can decide

who they are at the beginning of a new life, to be reborn in cyberspace. There

is the issue of naming oneself, to feel inside and find what makes someone

himself. When one signs up with any Internet Service Provider, the first thing

it will ask is for his new name. In *1*The Matrix*1* Mr. Anderson named himself

Neo: "New" and also an anagram for the "One" he truly was.

There is now also the ability to visualize the image of self and present that as

an avatar in a visual virtual environment, a step up from nomenclature and font

color self-expression. Deciding what one looks like as an imaginary character is

also interesting, and like naming oneself it can be good psychotherapy. These

are used in elaborate chat rooms where participants immerse themselves in whole

new worlds, and where identity is defined by images and one’s own character

description. As in a story, dialogue will also define a character, virtual or

otherwise. Your words are your deeds, your words are your body, says *2*Sherry

Turkle*2*. There are even thousands of sites that offer self-inspection quizzes

to help people define themselves in a few short questions. What is clear is that

the Internet fluidly becomes an extension of the self, and can play an important

role in defining our identities. Walt Whitman discusses childlike identity

changes with, "A child went forth every day/And the first object he look’d

upon/That object he became." In real life (RL) people are told what to do

and where to be and how to do so. There are social norms that presume to inhibit

our opinions. That is culture. Yet in Cyberspace, the immaterial existence of

virtual reality (VR), people become in many ways, the masters of themselves and

writers of the universe. How can that not be seen as more appealing?

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