I’ve been thinking about the concept of identity a lot lately (with my essay due in two weeks, this isn’t too surprising). I’ve noticed that I’ve been pretty strung out the past few days, frustrated by pretty much everything. (It’s been a viscious cycle: I have to psyche myself up to progress with the convention and make contacts out here… I manage to do it and finally feel comfortable and happy with the process, email in what I’ve done… after reading the responses, I’m back to being frustrated as hell.)
I’ve been spending time on IRC (I leave it open in another window while I write and occasionally glance at it to see if anything interesting is being talked about), and have found myself getting more and more pissed off by it. I’ve kept coming back to IRC intermittently ever since I originally started being online, and invariably I end up getting frustrated and leave. Looks like this will be another one of these occasions. I just can’t seem to help but get irritated when I frequent a channel for more than a week: the mishmash of young teens (and the angst and stupidity that goes with it), college-age elitists, and a thin layer of talented, intelligent, caring people that are generally silent for about 95% of their time online… it’s just frustrating.
What does this have to do with identity? Well, part of a person’s identity is their “public face,” ie how they are perceived by others. Despite the common disclaimer “How I act is not who I am,” if you behave regularly in a particular fashion, then it very much IS a part of your personality. Namely, if you act like an asshole regularly, no matter how much you say it’s just an act, a very large part of your identity IS an asshole. IRC really makes this aspect of defining identity apparent… partially in how many people DON’T realize that. Let’s take an example (generalized): someone makes a comment that you find insulting. You are then faced with a choice: ignore it and let prejudices perpetuate; comment and risk being made the villain in the situation by the trump card “It was a joke”. Sarcasm and satire do NOT translate well to IRC.
Well, just a quick post. I’m going to try getting into a more regular posting schedule again sometime soon. My focus right now is my essay, though, so it might not be until after that’s sent in. (Intermittent posts until then.)