This chapter blends discussions of psychoanalytics, with which I am familiar from Modernist and Postmodernist debates, and role-playing virtual games. It simultaneously handles the debates concerning surface and depth of identities in an online world. One could also refer to these in 'techy' terms as front end and back end identities.
An area which caused me some concern was the apparent lack of discussion in this chapter on actual collaboration. All of the examples given, concerning both 'Case' and 'Shakespeare' lacked an apparent group element. Therefore the chapter became slightly confused in linking its discussions of identity back to the many, other than the multiplicity of identities theory. I felt that Turkle got slightly lost in conveying the ideas of the MUD and telling the story of Case, letting the main focus of collaborative work fall flat. While I understood that this chapter is probably an introductory, 'setting the scene', piece of writing, I did not think that its message jelled fully with the overarching themes of this book.
I found the metaphor for Windows to be of great use in visualising the multiple self that Turkle was arguing for. The notion that every window open on our desktop conveys a separate identity rang quite true to me and I'm sure for many. For example, on numerous occasions, I will have various academic windows open, speaking in my scholarly voice, while at the same time I will have my personal Facebook open to speak to my friends, in my 'casual' voice. The fusion of technology and identity is at the core of what Digital Humanities if trying to assemble. Julia Fraser conceives that:
Digital humanities as a whole has revealed precisely how interwoven and mutually consequential 'technical' and 'disciplinary' standards often are (Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities, 68).This piece reminded me of the struggle within DH, to merge the identity of the humanities, with the imposing egos of both technology and the regulation of scholarship.
The emotional connection of Case to his MUD character Mairead is something which I can identify with, although on a smaller scale than gender dynamics. As I have mentioned in a previous post, my last foray into gaming was playing the Sims 1,2 and 3. These were probably the only games that I played thoroughly enough to comment on. I agreed with Turkle's example because I did have slight emotional reactions to my own gaming experiences. The Sims has a similar concept in that you can play as a completely different persona to your true self. I felt proud when my Sim got a promotion in their job, or had a child, mainly because I had progressed in my gaming abilities.
Arguably, these types of gaming can act as a method of escapism, in the sense that the player usually acts out something which they are unable or unwilling to attain in their own life at that moment.
This conjures the question of whether digital identity is in danger of becoming miskewed?
It also begs the question of whether digital identity can be taken as seriously as our own identity,which is proven on our passports?
The Digital Multiplicity of Personas serves to fuel the debate on facing up to reality.
Deegan, Marilyn, Willard McCarty. Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities: A Volume in Honour of Harold Short. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2012. Print.