There’s no U in IDENTITY

Identity is composed of how one both thinks of oneself and how they present themselves to the world. Under varying aspects or conditions, a person’s identity changes to fit the circumstances. In being oneself, the condition or character of a person is revealed differently to friends, co-workers, superiors, parents, those in authority or in situations involving dating, job interviews, sports competition and more.

‘The technology of the Internet offers its participants unprecedented possibilities for communicating with each other in real time, and for controlling the conditions of their own self-representations in ways impossible in face to face interaction’ (Nakamura)

In Nakamura’s piece, she elaborates on the discussion of differences between physical and assumed digital identities, and with our remix video we intend to look at the evolution of cultural rhetoric surrounding this discussion.

Online, there are an ever increasing number of opportunities to build alternate identities, and because the actual self is separated from this constructed persona, falsifying details or an entire identity is easier while sometimes harder to catch. Being aware of the threat of online predators is now a required lesson in public school safety curriculum, but at the same time, lying about yourself on the internet is accepted as inevitable and joked about on Conan.

Our remix video will be a supercut of clips that track, through repeated themes, the discourse surrounding physical and virtual self. Sources will include movies from when the rise of the internet was raising questions and fears about reality, as well as more contemporary examples which address deliberate falsification of self within the realms of social media and online dating.

To structure our argument, the video will track, through repetitive analysis of multiple genres of falsified online identities. These accounts and profiles cover a broad range of digital identities, from the existential and fearful to casual and humorous. We will then portray and analyze the effects of their falsification. This supercut from Fandango is both thematically and stylistically resonant with what we are planning to achieve with our remix video.

This example is great because it pulls from a series of popular movies with language on the theme of identity linking them together.

(Mitch Chaiet, Laura M. Krizan, Marc Speir)

Works Cited:

Nakamura, Lisa. “Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet.” Works and Days: Essays in the Socio-Historical Dimensions of Literature & the Arts 25/26 (1995): 181-93. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.      


One comment on “There’s no U in IDENTITY

  1. Using a supercut to draw on early discourses surrounding online identity from the 1990s, and juxtaposing them with the more laissez-faire attitudes that the Conan clip suggests, will be a good way to articulate changing perspectives on this topic. I would have liked to see you get a bit more specific about what you think the prevailing cultural discourses around the distinctions between lived and digital identities (or identity performances) are- I’m presuming, based on this, that the supercut will have “passages” that examine different discourses, but without having a better sense of them it’s difficult to parse what you’re arguing here about these discourses or how they function. In particular, you needed to unpack the following passage: “These accounts and profiles cover a broad range of digital identities, from the existential and fearful to casual and humorous. We will then portray and analyze the effects of their falsification.” I believe you mean a broad range of responses to digital identities, but this reads as a little unfocused. Do you mean the effects of people falsifying their identities? Depending on the footage you gather, you should collectively work to narrow this into a more refined and targeted argument (say, how one particular discourse around digital identity changes over time, and what this reflects about our changing attitudes to digital identity performance).


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