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Me online: digital or what?

This post is my farewell to the digital identity week in Change11 and integrates also my posts (see February 2012) about the article of Jenny Mackness and Carmen Tschofen. They tried to add some psychological concepts to open online studies and used the traits given by the Big 5 Personality Test. This week Ailsa linked to Facebook a Mirror of Online Behavior that uses those big 5 traits. And I tried to explore mine. Here comes a picture I took via printscreen, they save my privacy but I am allowed to show what I want.

This information is cropped from the right side: The Big 5 Personality Test assesses key personality traits to get an overview of your character. It is currently the system most used by academic psychologists for personality research. Explore your personality scores and online behaviors through the links in the bottom left.

The traits they use are found in empirical surveys and show the most permanent parts of behavior. It was nice to get feedback after answering their (the mirror makers) questions. First they thought I were a man and then I got information about how common my choices were. It was a survey more than a test, but I like images and that’s why I took this picture of me online. The only interesting part here is that I have little agreeableness, it is true if something  is. I do not follow popular sources or people, I do my own choices. This is one example of online mirror of my what: attitudes, behavioral components, personality traits. Last week we spoke about digital identities, is there any such things? As I said in my previous post, voice good be a better concept.

I am sure that I have an identity and a personality – both are stable and continuously changing. I know something about myself but never everything, I can find new phenomena every day. Bonnie Stewart gave us some facets for describing digital identity and we learned a lot when using those concepts. I have to say that I do not really understand the concept ‘performativity’ because I cannot translate it, it cannot be found in vocabularies. She defines it in her blog post

the concept covers a lot more than the idea of performance does, and disrupts the ideas of authenticity and falseness or surface that tend to go with “performance” in our cultural usages. to be performative within social media isn’t to be fake…rather the concept of performativity suggests that there is no such thing as inner reality or therefore outer fakeness. important for the work i’m doing to tease apart our practices within social networks.

She thinks that people cannot pretend, they are what they are? She has problems with authentic:

authentic. that word. if there was one word i could ban from conversation entirely, that would be it. not because i don’t value it – i do – but because it falls into that “i know it when i see it” category but damn, does it ruin a lot of conversations.

No wonder she feels to be in crisis: conversations need participants but what are they? I wrote about understandings and misunderstandings in moocs and here it is again. If I live in a different world how can I follow Bonnie’s thought or feelings. I was surprised that the discipline in her Mendeley site was Education, not Sociology. Sociologist may look human beings outside, far, but educators? If they do so they are behaviorists? A new concept came to my mind: networked behaviorism?

Once again I try to understand the place of behavior in human life. I wonder if there is a connection between the big 5 personality traits openness, conscientiousness, extravesion, agreeableness and stability and the performativity in Bonnies’s model. She says

..we bring ourselves into being, performatively, by constant repetitive, gestural citation of practices that are intelligible according to the norms of our culture.

It hadn’t occurred to me how performing a role … can be extraordinarily intimidating: at least, it hadn’t occurred to me in years, since the last time I stepped so far out of my comfort zone to do something in public. The intimidation factor of performative acts may be something to consider when encountering people who are resistant to social networks and digital endeavours: online interactions tend to be more visibly or overtly performative than other aspects of our lives, and self-consciousness may contribute to some people’s hesitancy to engage.

There is something very interesting in this quote. Why this public life via blogs is suitable to somebody and quite impossible to many. I think we have  to look deeper in human minds even it is challenging. Behavior and performativity (?) are not enough. They are observable and easy to quantify but not explain anything.

I want to understand deeply but I like to play with ready-made devices as Klout. Today it tells that I am a networker, my scores have gone up for some reason.

Klout cannot tell my influence but I have connections to these people .. and many others. I know who I am but why not to check  these scores (if only I remember).

I noticed that Jaap tried to combine concepts of inner life to digital identities in his blog. And Wolfgang Greller gave an elegant description about Bonnie’s six facets, much better than I did. I found the Facebook group Change11 and got some new friends there. The identity week was worth living but not easy to say what I learned. Time will tell, as always.




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