Personal Transformations in the Internet Age

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10 Responses to “Personal Transformations in the Internet Age”

  1. Jennything says:

    Interesting article! “What tools and practices will we develop to shed the old reference points as a part of such transformations?” Two things occur. One, that we still [must :)] live our offline lives, most opaquely and individually; and two, that the “persistent and vivid reference points from the past,” which /can/ amount to what the author calls a “curse we cannot undo,” might actually serve us, in some wise. People will allllways nurture difference, to better and worse ends, likely, y’know? (We have a right to our labors but not to the fruits of our labors.) But I hope and see, along with Gorbis, that, “maybe, along with everything else, the Internet is democratizing human fallibility.”

    I love the internet.

    Jenny
    Yeah; the one you know. :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    “What I do wonder about, however, is how will personal transformations be achieved in this era of persistent and vivid reference points from the past?”

    These transformations are achieved when you stop talking to the people from your past. Unfriend them on facebook, don’t call them as often, don’t visit, and don’t run into them while you’re out. If you don’t maintain the relationship to the past there is no relationship to the past. A picture or a facebook friend you never talk to is nothing but a dim reminder of who you once were.

    I regularly prune my facebook of anyone I haven’t had face to face contact with in the past year. I enjoy facebook much more now that the status updates are more relevant.

  3. Waterhouse says:

    Good article, but I think you mean democratizing human fallibility, not fallacy.

  4. Matt Katz says:

    You can see the rules changing even now, as we watch.

    You see waves of new disclosure in new media, then a series of scare stories promising you’ll never get hired again due to your embarrassing pics on facespacester. The benefits of increased social interaction seem to drive people to participate more, and maybe they evolve new norms about what is ok to document.

    Already, people are creating multiple personas on Facebook – 1 to friend everyone you work with, and 1 to share dirty jokes with your friends.

  5. TooMuchModerationIsBad:Paradox says:

    Barring dastardly deeds, people should be able to reinvent themselves.

    Imagine the poor farmer who has a bad year and his crops aren’t productive; he has to declare bankruptcy. He can’t really stay where he is because of his ‘rep’, so he pulls up roots, so to speak, and goes elsewhere for a fresh start.

    That used to be possible; now, the fresh start is very stale with the lingering ‘net odor of what he is trying to put behind him.

    Or imagine the guy who is minding his own business in a bar and gets roughed up by some belligerent drunk; the guy defends himself but gets slapped with some bogus criminal charge. It wasn’t his fault — but what do we know in this internet age? And it doesn’t even matter if charges are dropped. All we think is ‘police record’. Trapdoor swings open, and down he goes.

    Expungement and sealing records are useless, because one has to wait X amount of time before petitioning for this remedy, and by then all the data have been sucked up by some faceless cyborg entity and spread all over databases, forever to stay.

    There’s very little room for reinvention these days. Pity. Our society is worse off for it.

    ——-
    @waterhouse:
    An argument could be made that human fallacy is being democratized — the fallacy that just because someone does something silly they can’t later be good people. Or the converse: That someone who does something silly is always going to do so later on.

  6. pleclerc says:

    It’s going to take a great deal more forgiveness to overcome these unforgettable acts. Forgiveness of other people’s stupid mistakes when they were immature and forgiveness of ourselves for our own immaturity. Even if that immaturity happened yesterday or 20 years ago.
    Thankfully *I’ve* never done anything stupid. In the past hour.

  7. nonlinear says:

    I’ve been thinking about the future of democratic societies with our digital shadows looming over us…

    I decided to write 4 possible scenarios on a blog post. it’s kinda in a hurry, but there it is:

    http://blog.nonlinear.cc/post/personal-transformations-in-the-internet-age/

  8. stegodon says:

    The internet never forgets, it’s true – consider the ordeal that Libby Hoeller has endured.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “What can the England of 1940 have in common with the England of 1840? But then, what have you in common with the child of five whose photograph your mother keeps on the mantelpiece? Nothing, except that you happen to be the same person.”

    – George Orwell, England Your England

  10. Anonymous says:

    Fascinating piece.

    I recently had to give a speech at a high school friend’s wedding and in preparation I spent an afternoon reading notes that were written between the bride and me over a span of six years and had been kept in an old shoe box. Most of the notes were humorous from a teenage point of view, but I was rather embarrassed by a few and tore them up because I didn’t want to be reminded of my formal self. Will today’s youth really have a clear record of their past. Will they really be able to view text messages they sent 10 or 20 years ago?

    Deena Crawley

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