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Adam Bohannon's List: Online identity research

    • For its     users, this networked social system or virtual community is, as cybertheorist     Sandy Stone put it, "first and foremost a community of belief" [2].
    • Certainly, the traditional     notion of community is founded on assumptions about consensus, rationality     and collectivity that do not translate well to virtual spaces like the internet.     In a virtual environment, collaboration displaces community, teasing out,     as it seems to do, the possibility of radical encounters with the 'other'.     Informed by a postmodern sense of irony, fragmentation and multiciplicity,     collaboration undermines normative and unitary social formations in today's     virtual environments.

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    • In this article, Carroli discusses the concept of community as it applies to online and offline contexts. She argues that the word community is lacking in describing the kinds of encounters and relations formed on the internet. She prefers the terminology of collaboration in describing the interaction of strangers in mediated contexts. As evidence against using the term community with respect to these contexts, she cites the fragmentation, fluidity, and mutability of online identity. This interpretation can also be extended offline in the sense that online collaboration also effects offline concepts of community. Carroli invites us to consider the possibilities of rethinking our present concepts of community in the digital age. - Adam Bohannon on 2007-09-14
    • social networking as a feature, not a destination.
    • I'm sure huge and generic social networking destinations will continue to do well, but I'm placing my bet on the biggest impact coming when social networking becomes a standard feature on all good sites, bringing community to the granular level where it always works best.
    • This article challenges common conceptions of the "cyberspace as place" metaphor and the use of this metaphor in the courtroom. The author provides many examples of difference between physical and virtual "space." These differences are critical when issues of cyberspace are considered in the courtroom. These issues, instead of being about physical space, really deal with issues of the control and flow of information, however, physical space metaphors applied to cyberspace effectively preclude understanding the issue in this way. - Adam Bohannon on 2007-10-05
    • From Chapter 3 "Identity Construction on the Internet" by Sandra L. Calvert Sandra L. Calvert is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Children's Digital Media Center at Georgetown College. Her research activities involve the impact of information technologies such as television and computers on children's attention, comprehension, and social behavior. Professor Calvert's Current research at the Children's Digital Media Center is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Stuart Family Foundation. With her colleagues and students, she is examining the influences of identity and interactivity on children's learning from entertainment technologies.

      In this article Professor Calvert examines adolescent identity issues using the views of Erikson, Jung, and the Social Interactionist perspective. Her main focus is on MUDs (multi-user domains) and the dynamic of interaction regarding the creation of online personae which are then used as a channel for identity experimentation among children as well as adults. She cites the notion of the adolescent moratorium as puported by Erikson, and also claims that through online personae users experiment with the various archetypes mentioned by Jung. The latter is done primarily through gender experimentation, which Calvert claims to represent the anima and animus, and also through negative and deceptive roles which represent the archetype of the "shadow." Calvert confronts the issue of core identity versus multiple selves. Her thesis is "that multiple selves are role played to construct a unified sense of self, or identity. While some of these exchanges are only textual in nature, others involve symbolically enacted behaviors through avatars. She concludes by stating "as a society, our challenge is to help young people navigate their real life and their online "selves" to forge a constructive unified personal identity.
      - Adam Bohannon on 2007-09-20
    • Barry Wellman is the Chair-Emeritus of both the Community and Information Technologies section and the Community and Urban Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. His intellectual approach is social network analysis. He founded the professional society in the field: the International Network for Social Network Analysis. Keith Hampton is an Assistant Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests focus on the relationship between information and communication technologies, social networks, and the urban environment.

      This article discusses the trend of communities in the late 1990's in becoming more networked based rather than group based. A connection is made with online social networks as reinforcing and nourishing face-to-face relationships and an investigation of a "wired" suburban community called "Netville" is used to support this notion. Brief mention is given to utopian and dystopian views of the internet. Utopian views regard the internet as an important development in creating strong supportive relations that exist without regard to race, gender, or geography. They also cite the potential of the internet for social transformation. Dystopian perspectives argue that online relations fragment and disconnect us, ruining the integrity of "real" life, face-to-face relations. The article goes on to argue in favor of the utopian perspective, emphasizing community as created through social exchange rather than spatial proximity.
      - Adam Bohannon on 2007-09-09
    • Karen Cerulo is a sociology professor at Rutgers University. Her research addresses a variety of themes within the sociology of culture and cognition. In this article she gives a detailed literature review of theoretical approaches to identity and identity construction common in the late 1990's. She advocates the use of an eclectic view when investigating identity, but with a keen knowledge of the limitations of each theoretical framework. Her review of previous theoretical approaches to identity that encapsulate it as a source of mobilization rather than a product of it is particularly insightful. Brief mention is given to the effects of electric technology on identity construction. - Adam Bohannon on 2007-09-09
    • Danah Boyd is a PhD candidate at the School of Information at the University of California - Berkeley and a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School. Her research focuses on how people negotiate presentations of self to unknown audiences in mediated contexts.

      Reminiscent of Marshall McLuhan's "rear-view mirror" effect, Boyd advocates a move past the use of limiting metaphors when talking about blogging. She argues such metaphors are fragmented and have been used by large media outlets to manipulate the image of blogging and bloggers in order to downplay their impact on the dissemination of "quality" information. Commonly, blogging is metaphorically referred to as writing in a diary or journalism but such metaphors are misleading and obfuscate the actual practice of blogging. Building off Walter Ong's notion of Secondary Orality, Boyd writes that blogging is a liminal practice which straddles the gray area between textuality/orality, corporeality/spatiality, and practice/artifact. Bloggers define themselves as well as their blogs by negotiating the tensions created by these dichotomous relationships.
      - Adam Bohannon on 2007-08-31
    • Sherry Turkle is a Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and a clinical psychologist. Calling for a revised approach to the study of identity, Turkle stresses the importance of understanding the multiplicities of identity and a need to move past the antiquated Freudian theories of identity that focus on the ego as the only "true" self. For Turkle, experimenting with multiple personae is normal and healthy in the development of the self as mentioned by Erik Erikson regarding the psychosocial moratorium common in adolescents where the consequences of experimental behavior are more or less absent allowing freedom to experiment with multiple personae and identity building. The development of cyberspace and its conduciveness to identity expression in the form of different "user" names or "handles" creates a virtual moratorium of sorts where identity building may take place from a range of ages. More recent approaches to identity theory are viewing identity as decentralized and more fluid; the interaction of many "selves" in the creation of identity. This "play" with different identities is not MPD, but rather a healthy process, "The healthy individual knows how to be many but to smooth out the moments of transition between states of self." Computer culture, and especially cyberspace, are reflecting these new approaches to identity in terms of multiplicity and flexibility. - Adam Bohannon on 2007-08-30
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