MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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“Meat or mind?” Who are you?

I really enjoyed the poem, “Meetspace” discussed in our last class. I think Elizabeth Barrette poses the issue of identity during these “online” times in quite a provocative way. More than talking about self-identity, Barrette deals with the issue of gender identification. Of course, gender identity isn’t a new issue in society but with the prevalence of the “cyberspace” world a new dimension has been added.

 Before, gender identification was based mostly on physical appearance. People would assign an individual as male or female depending on how they look physically. Now, however, people can create online identities that can be male, female or even gender neutral.

More than gender, this division of self can manifest in other forms. An example mentioned in class was of people who are very comfortable communicating online but then are super shy when it comes to face-to-face contact.

 So, I guess the question that comes from all this and from Barrette’s poem is: Who is the real you? “The meat or the mind” as she puts it- your online persona or the physical self?

This has great implications on the world as a whole. Even though there are still a great deal of people in the world without internet access, I feel for certain that kids growing up in this cyber generation are sure to face a whole new set of self identification issues. Adolescents face enough of an identity crisis without have to try to define themselves on Facebook or Twitter at the same time. 

I believe there is no real right answer to Barrette’s question. I think that both the online persona and the physical “meat” of a person are all parts of an individual. Some people spend their whole lives asking themselves “who am I?” The cyberspace world is just adding another layer to this and spicing up the debate…. who are you???


May 24, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material |

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