IDENTITY

This lesson explores personal identity and the self in the online world, with a focus on how the concept of identity is shaped by social media and hyper-connectivity. Students will gain insight into how their identities may be unconsciously shaped by digital media and online socialization. We will examine how individuals craft and express their identities across multiple online and offline contexts, and discuss the implications of having different identities, avatars, and facets of ourselves across different networks, for example our personal and work life. How do we choose what to reveal and what to conceal? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg believes that we should only have one authentic identity, and that anything else is deceptive. This is contrasted with the view that individuals are multi-faceted and that identity is “prismatic”. As part of the debate on the nature of identity, we will consider: What is “authentic identity”? What is the significance of authenticity, pseudonymity and anonymity in the online world? We will also explore to what extent identity is defined by what one does online, and examine the relationship between online identity and offline activity.