Digital Self

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Jordan Bryant
Professor Harrison
Sociology 328
31 January 2013
Reading Response 1: Overall EQ
The reading I chose to respond to is “The Digital Self Through the Looking Glass of Telecopresent Others,” by Shenyang Zhao. Zhao’s piece doesn’t strongly take sides on the newly added technological element to the formation of self-identity, but merely tries to understand the impacts it may have and some of the reasons why it’s become such an overwhelming element to self-identity. His article is thorough in ideas but lacking in depth and research to back up his claims. Zhao’s discussion of the desire of self-presentation and recognition is a strong one, and useful in proving that with some of the added benefits of telecopresence, it ultimately is devastating for development in the long run. In this response I will elaborate on some of his ideas of why people seek telecopresence and give evidence to reinforce how the digital self is determent to the actual self. My perspective will be heavily influenced by the importance of practicing emotional intelligence in “real life,” not through cyberspace.

Zhao suggests that there are two “main stages” for which evolution takes place during childhood, one being from significant others, and the other from larger society (pg. 153-4). He suggests the influence of the two are relative to one another, that in early adolescence the parents play the major role in the formation of self-identity, but with age the influence of the parents is gradually replaced by the influence of larger society. He also introduces that there are four social domains: family, school, neighborhood, and the newly acquired “online life.” Zhao then explains why teenagers overly use this fourth domain. This leads to what the Internet life creates for the user’s identity, referring to this as the “digital self”. He then spends the remainder of the article describing the digital self that teenagers acquire through their online lives as being inwardly...
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