She’s everyone and anyone and no one! Will you ever know her truest self…?
I mean really, in a world of everyone, who is anyone?
The jellylift admin is just a fraction of my personality, and really, “jellylift admin” is a personality and character of its own. While it carries reflections of me, it is not wholly me. If I were actually this chaotic and unhinged and manic all the time I would be extremely concerned (unless I already definitely am like this, and to think that I’m not only emphasizes my delusional personality). The fact that this is just a character highlights precisely the wonders and dangers of the online world. We can be anybody we want to, which is both awesome and kind of terrifying. There is a lot of talk and discussion of being our authentic selves online, which is funny considering that at the dawn of the internet, we were all trying to hide ourselves online as much as possible. When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to have my name or pictures of my face anywhere online, and my parents were incredibly strict about it. In the 8th grade, when I graduated middle school, everyone was posting photos from the Grade 8 Dance, and my friends were posting stickers over my face of pictures I was in, because I simply could not have any part of me online. As the digital sphere has grown, anonymity has become harder and harder to attain, requiring individuals to go to greater lengths to smooth out their digital footprints, and clean up their breadcrumbs.
One part of this week’s discussion on the POSIEL site is:
“what about our private, domestic, inner selves? Where do they exist in a pervasively networked world?”
I thought this was an incredibly interesting and thought-provoking question to wrap up the semester with. Is there even space for our authentic selves? First of all, so few people actually have a solid grasp on their identities and authentic selves, as people tend to craft different personas in different contexts – work, school, certain friends groups, from person to person. Second of all, I want to address a piece of the question itself.
Our private, domestic inner selves.
I recently watched a piece called Over and Over that was created by an SFU theater student, and performed by a very talented group of first years in the theatre program. It was a sort of contemporary performance-art type of piece, addressing the ‘bedroom self’ and uncovering the different parts of who we are, alone in our bedroom. It had a drag rock-n-roll aesthetic, with my key takeaways being themes of self-love, depression and self-destruction, acceptance, and pure euphoria – among other things. Our private, domestic inner selves made me reflect on this piece, and the way this art form was used to convey that version of the self. But that’s not entirely my point of bringing it up.
The audience was very strictly directed not to take photos or videos, as it was prohibited and being professionally documented by a crew of people specifically for the SFU archives. Yet, I caught people secretly recording parts of the show, and even caught one of my friends taking some videos. Later as I was doom scrolling through Instagram, I observed how my friend had then posted that video to her story along with some pictures.
Ironic, don’t you think? A play about the private, secret, hidden inner self, posted on Instagram!
When you think about it, our inner private selves, so long as we are connected, can’t exactly stay hidden. We repost a funny meme, and that reveals a piece of our humour. We post an opinion or a comment, and that reveals a piece of our mind. We post a photo of ourselves, and whether it is staged or not, that still reveals a piece of us.
I guess my point is that maybe our domestic inner selves cannot exist within the “pervasively networked world,” but must remain in a separate, disconnected universe.
Like our bedroom.