mez breeze on Mon, 26 May 2008 06:45:19 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> _Identity Ecologies + Avatar Formations_

[Please comment]<>

In Social Psychology the concept of _Identity_ formation stresses how a
subject is demarcated as an individual. Common Identity definers include
geophysical locators via street, city, country and biological factors such
as age, weight, and height. Consciousness contributes to Identity formation
via assessments of an individual's personality traits and corresponding _ego

Identity formation is deemed beneficial via the mechanics of statistical
marking and the achievable entrenching of a subject into a surrounding
social milieu. Medical and psychopathological models frame the concept
through a health dichotomy that positions dysfunctional identity as
potentially Dissociative. This type of fragmented dissociation from a
subject's internalised concept of self is viewed as undesirable.
Alternatively in synthetic environments a type of projected or distributed
Identity is considered acceptable _and_ beneficial.

Most synthetic creches - whether they be gamer-pitched, environmental or
social networking in orientation - form identities that emulate the
ecological or topological. Instead of relying on preformed psychological or
sociological architectures, MMOEs and virtual environments encourage
deliberately fluctuating Identity construction. These identities,
established through the use of avatars or profile creation, alter according
to the foibles of specific platforms and interfaces [think: Seesmic,
Facebook, Meez, ExitReality, or Vivaty]. A subject may have a multitude of
profiles created across a wide distribution base. Each profile may consist
of the creation of two-dimensional or three-dimensional projections such as
multiple character creation in WoW. Individuals may also utilise programs
that allow for cross-navigation of such profiles according to usage
patterns. These staggered profiles create a type of _Socialphrenic_
functioning that eclipses solo-persona extensions. For example, a Facebook
user may create a profile that constructs a user's identity according to
variables such as their Name, Age, Education, Employment and Interests.
However, a user is not restricted in terms of manipulating these answers to
evoke an identity structure vastly removed from their primary geophysical
housing. An illustration of this is a current ARG narrative strand that
situates itself in two active "false" user profiles on _Twitter_ and
_Facebook_. The fictionalised Identity associated with each profile
encourages other traditional identity-defined users to interact and engage
with it. Some of those users defined as reflecting a _true_ identity may be
unaware of the fictionalised profiling involved.

Other identity intonations can be creatively interpreted via the employment
of Gravatars or Profile picture selections. This selective presentation of
visual Identity stamps are mirrored in channel adoptions appropriate to
specific Synthaptic identities. Connected users display the slipperiness of
identity markers when engaged within a synthetic environment; users may
reference a fellow Synthetic by their character/avatar name even when
interacting in phenomenologically-defined reality.

According to traditional psychological theory, these type of identity
ecologies would represent a subtle splintering of a primary identity akin to
Schizophrenia. In synthetic realities, they represent a user's ability for
comprehensive immersion and allow for seamless and aggregational engagement.
There is room for an overlap of these constructions including the
potentiality to learn extensively from these synthetic Identity


#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact: