Who Am We?

In the readings from last week, I found myself asking why too often. It wasn't till the end of Turkle's essay "Who Am We?" that I began to see an answer, even it is a hazy one. To summarize, Turkle claims that we analyze ourselves so that we may improve our families and society, yet analysis of our actions on the internet is difficult and hard to derive conclusions from. Turkle mostly presents questions as apposed to answering them, but it seems that sometimes she is presenting a side she favors.

In general, Turkle is trying to create a dialogue about what is identity when we have the chance to control how we appear to others. Which aspects of our personalities do we want to express to suppress? What gender and thus gender roles do we want to fit into? How much of our "body" do we want to have exposed to the internet? I feel that Turkle is saying that all, none, and some are answers to these questions. This essay was written from the perspective of many case studies which display interesting characters but at the same time may not typify the experience of all users of the internet. I do not feel that the actions of the people referenced were based solely on curiosity because at some point, one would know what they were looking for and would then move onto something else. If gender-swapping was done out of curiosity, why would those people continue to act as somebody of the other gender after they understood what it felt like unless there was something else that was compelling them? As I see it, the internet is a place where a person can more freely (but not completely free) express their desires without the physical barriers. But I feel that this has been said many times.

What I feel that has not been said enough is that as Turkle puts it, "our experiences [on the internet] are serious play" (249). In some sense we might classify the use of the internet by the people in the essay as an addiction, yet how many of us would be willing to go cold turkey and just throw it away. Like most things, it has it good and bad.