[W]hat [I] [K]now [I]s

July 12, 2010

‘Know yourself’ is what was inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi way back in the year # b4 FB (before Facebook). But do I know who I really am? It’s something that’s had us guessing for a long, long time. Even more so in this Virtual Revolution, this Age of Engagement and Immediacy we’re currently living in. Nowadays, many of us have set up multiple virtual personalities and online identities. We surf the waves of these multiple identities, logging in and out of them at will. Are these facets of our ‘real’ personality? They surely must be.
Planet of the Apps.
In fact, going beyond personality traits, we use our avatars to replace everyday human behaviours and actions. Facebook when we relate to friends and relatives. Twitter for updates, greetings and giving news. Forums for getting answers to our questions and in turn providing answers to questions about something we’re keenly interested in i.e. hobbies. LinkedIn for developing and furthering our professional selves. Blogs for writing down our thoughts, feelings, opinions. At our fingertips we have access to terabytes of information and knowledge. The flip side is – could this help us in figuring out who we are? Well, it actually might. One theory would say that we hide in the Internet jungle to get away from our ‘real’ selves. Another would argue that our online selves are a more real expression of ourselves – it gives us the opportunity to be, well, us.
Encyclopedia of Us.
We’re creating an encyclopedia of us. We’re deconstructing ourselves, uploading the different parts/items of information to the Internet. What we believe, like, hate, relate to is there (here?). Our jobs, education, bank balances, taxes… Digression: electronic death certificates will mean the ‘nail in the coffin’ of our earthbound selves?
How soon will it be before in order to put together a life we’ll be ‘mashing’ online records, threads, cookies, timelines and profiles? How long before ‘humans b4 FB’ made of flesh and blood become ‘humans post-FB’ made of bytes of bits and pixels?

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