Monday, January 28, 2008

Chapter 14 - Human Interaction

In Chapter 14, Barnes discusses how “Eliminating visual information about the physical body in cyberspace communication has positive and negative implications. On the one hand, eliminating the body makes us more equal because we no longer have access to the visual information of sex, age, or race. But on the other hand, the quality of human relationships narrows, because unlike face-to-face communication, we do not have a full range of visual and verbal sensory information” (247).

In the example of “The Naked Lady,” Barnes says the woman had a behavioral change because of her digital persona. I don’t believe that because she is not interacting with someone face-to-face that her behavior is artificial. The fact that she was able to create a new personality shows that she already had that ability in her to act that way, it was just a matter of finding the right influences in her surroundings to trigger that change. I think that this kind of communication helps increase human relationships as opposed to narrowing because it allows one to be more free in their actions. Though it is true that there are some awful or questionable personalities out there in cyberspace, in general, I think cyberspace helps develop one’s self-identity because it incorporates a kind of freedom to act in ways one usually would not act because of societal influences. Additionally, it could present to us new kinds of behaviors that we usually would not experience anywhere else, providing a larger scope of the world we live in.

1 comment:

Lance Strate said...

The point Barnes was making was that this woman started to behave in a way she never had before online, and eventually started to behave in that new way offline. You're right that the potential had to be there, but without the new technology providing a safe environment for experimentation, that potential may never have been realized. I do agree that what's happening is a broadening of behavior, and perhaps a break down of the integrated self, towards a more fluid notion of identity and personality.