Something that the discussion with Gardner Campbell (as well as discussions with Caitlin Murphy) got me thinking about is our notion of identity.  In class we have talked about owning or having our own digital space.  I find this particularly interesting because it sets this sort of technology apart, it makes computers and the internet more than a tool.  Rather, the space you own on the internet, and even the persona which one uses, are part of what we consider to be our selves.

There are many ways to explain this, but the clearest is to compare it to my car.  When driving, my control of the vehicle is so instinctual (shifting from gas to brake, steering) that the car is not simply a thing I use to get around.  The car is my personal freedom of movement.  It extends my notion of local space, and is then (especially when I am driving) an extension of my self.  This became very clear when I was nearly run off the road by a mack truck that didn’t see me (note the construction,”didn’t see me” as opposed to “didn’t see my car”).  In the instant of my realization that the several ton machine was about to contact my car and start pushing me into the median, I judged the distance between my front driver’s side wheel and the curb of the median and inched over as far as I could while flooring the gas pedal.  This anecdote is interesting in that I have a distinct memory of the image of my wheel approaching the yellow line at the edge of the road.  I had a good enough conception of where the wheel was to form an acurate (I did not run off the road or touch the curb) mental picture.  This conception of where the car is in space seems to me to be quite similar to the innate sense of proprioception, or your ability to know the location of your limbs without seeing them.

How does this mumbo jumbo relate to teh intarwebs?  I would argue that “my own space” on the internet is more than a place where I put data, or where I communicate with others.  It is an extension of my self into the digital realm.  In the same way I feel a lurch in my stomach when I jump my Paladin off of the dam at loch modan and sense the location of my car in a crisis, so does this space provide a means with which to organize and explicate my thoughts.  The extension of my self into the digital realm is also an improvement of my ability to explain myself, my self, and my thoughts.

Advertisements