"Social networks such as Facebook and on-line gaming are changing people's view of who they are and their place in the world, according to a report for the government's chief scientist. The report, published by Prof Sir John Beddington, says that traditional ideas of identity will be less meaningful. ... It states that the changing nature of identities will have substantial implications for what is meant by communities and by social integration.
The study shows that traditional elements that shape a person's identity, such as their religion, ethnicity, job and age are less important than they once were. Instead, particularly among younger people, their view of themselves is shaped increasingly by on-line interactions of social networks and on online role playing games.
The study found that far from creating superficial or fantasy identities that some critics suggest, in many cases it allowed people to escape the preconceptions of those immediately around them and find their 'true' identity. This is especially true of disabled people who told researchers that online gaming enabled them to socialise on an equal footing with others."
(Pallab Ghosh, 21 January 2013, BBC News)
"For many young people social networks such as Facebook are an essential part of their student experience. Other web-based, interactive services like Wikipedia and YouTube are also an important facet of everyday student life. New technologies have always been scrutinized for their capacity to support education and, as social technologies become more pervasive, universities are under increasing pressure to appropriate them for teaching and learning. However, the educational impact of applying these Web 2.0 technologies is uncertain.
Using a Foucauldian perspective, my qualitative study explores the networked experiences of disabled students to examine how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within social networks. Data comprises 34 internet-enabled interviews with 18 participants from three English universities. Interviews incorporate the internet to expand opportunities for discussion, observation and analysis. Mobile broadband, a remote desktop viewer and screen capture have been flexibly applied together to ensure an accessible interview situation and recognise students' preferences and circumstances. Data is analysed using discourse analysis, with an attention to context framed by activity theory.
Disabled students' networked experiences are found to be complex and diverse. For a proportion, the network shifts the boundaries of disability, creating non-disabled subjectivities. For these students, the network represents the opportunity to mobilise new ways of being, building social capital and mitigating impairment.
Other participants experience the network as punitive and disabling. Disability is socio-technically ascribed by the social networking site and the networked public. Each inducts norms that constitute disability as a visible, deviant and deficit identity. In the highly normative conditions of the network, where every action is open to scrutiny, impairment is subjected to an unequal gaze that produces disabled subjectivities. For some students with unseen impairments, a social experience of disability is inducted for the first time.
As a result, students deploy diverse strategies to retain control and resist deviant status. Self-surveillance, self-discipline and self-advocacy are evoked, each involving numerous social, cognitive and technological tactics for self-determination, including disconnection. I conclude that networks function both as Technologies of the Self and as Technologies of Power. For some disabled students, the network supports 'normal' status. For others, it must be resisted as a form of social domination.
Importantly, in each instance, the network propels students towards disciplinary techniques that mask diversity, rendering disability and the possibility of disability invisible. Consequently, disability is both produced and suppressed by the network."
(Sarah Lewthwaite, Slewth Press)
"Aleks Krotoski asks not just what technology can do for us but also what is it doing to us and the world we're creating? Each week she takes us on a journey to where people are living their digital lives to explore how technology touches everything we do both on and offline.
Taking broad themes of modern living as a starting point she charts the experiences of homo digitas; both the remarkable and the mundane, to understand how we are changing just as quickly as the advances in our technology.
What does the deluge of images from digital photography mean for our memory when every second is being recorded, edited and posted online for posterity? Are the identities we create in social media no more than exercises in personal branding, to be managed and protected like any other product? And as traditional churches struggle to leverage technology to spread their faith do the behaviours we all display online have more in common with religion than rationality?
The time for wonder at the digital world is over, we live with it in every day. The question really is who are we now because of it?"
(BBC Radio 4)
Fig.1 "Mack on a summer morning", 30 March 2011 [http://www.mydogearedpages.com/2011/03/photographic-memories.html].
"Sherry Turkle is a professor, author, consultant, researcher, and licensed clinical psychologist who has spent the last 30 years researching the psychology of people's relationships with technology. She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Her many books include a trilogy on digital technology and human relationships: 'The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit,' 'Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet,' and most recently, 'Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.' Her investigations show that technology doesn't just catalyze changes in what we do -- it affects how we think."
(Sherry Turkle, 2011)
Fig.1 "TEDxUIUC - Sherry Turkle - Alone Together", Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 25 Mar 2011.
"In everyday interactions, the body serves as a critical site of identity performance. In conveying who we are to other people, we use our bodies to project information about ourselves. This is done through movement, clothes, speech, and facial expressions. What we put forward is our best effort at what we want to say about who we are. Yet while we intend to convey one impression, our performance is not always interpreted as we might expect. Through learning to make sense of others’ responses to our behavior, we can assess how well we have conveyed what we intended. We can then alter our performance accordingly. This process of performance, interpretation, and adjustment is what Erving Goffman calls impression management, and is briefly discussed in the introduction to this volume. Impression management is a part of a larger process where people seek to define a situation through their behavior. People seek to define social situations by using contextual cues from the environment around them. Social norms emerge out of situational definitions, as people learn to read cues from the environment and the people present to understand what is appropriate behavior.
Learning how to manage impressions is a critical social skill that is honed through experience. Over time, we learn how to make meaning out of a situation, others’ reactions, and what we are projecting of ourselves. As children, we learn that actions on our part prompt reactions by adults; as we grow older, we learn to interpret these reactions and adjust our behavior. Diverse social environments help people develop these skills because they force individuals to reevaluate the signals they take for granted.
The process of learning to read social cues and react accordingly is core to being socialized into a society. While the process itself begins at home for young children, it is critical for young people to engage in broader social settings to develop these skills. Of course, how children are taught about situations and impression management varies greatly by culture, but these processes are regularly seen as part of coming of age. While no one is ever a true master of impression management, the teenage years are ripe with opportunities to develop these skills.
In mediated environments, bodies are not immediately visible and the skills people need to interpret situations and manage impressions are different. As Jenny Sund´en argues, people must learn to write themselves into being. Doing so makes visible how much we take the body for granted. While text, images, audio, and video all provide valuable means for developing a virtual presence, the act of articulation differs from how we convey meaningful information through our bodies. This process also makes explicit the self-reflexivity that Giddens argues is necessary for identity formation, but the choices individuals make in crafting a digital body highlight the self-monitoring that Foucault describes.
In some sense, people have more control online-they are able to carefully choose what information to put forward, thereby eliminating visceral reactions that might have seeped out in everyday communication. At the same time, these digital bodies are fundamentally coarser, making it far easier to misinterpret what someone is expressing. Furthermore, as Amy Bruckman shows, key information about a person’s body is often present online, even when that person is trying to act deceptively; for example, people are relatively good at detecting when someone is a man even when they profess to be a woman online. Yet because mediated environments reveal different signals, the mechanisms of deception differ. "
(Danah Boyd 2008, p.128-129)
 Fred Davis, Fashion, Culture and Identity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).
 Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, 1956).
 Erving Goffman, Behavior in Public Places (New York: The Free Press, 1963).
 Jean Briggs, Inuit Morality Play: The Emotional Education of a Three-Year-Old (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999).
 Jenny Sund´en, Material Virtualities (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2003).
 See David Buckingham’s introduction to this volume for a greater discussion of this.
 Joshua Berman and Amy Bruckman, The Turing Game: Exploring Identity in an Online Environment, Convergence 7, no. 3 (2001): 83–102.
 Judith Donath, Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community, Communities in Cyberspace, eds. Marc Smith and Peter Kollock (London: Routledge, 1999).
1). Boyd, D. (2008). Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life. Youth, Identity, and Digital Media. D. Buckingham. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press: 119–142.