Identities and Self in the New Web Order

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

I intend to spend way too much of my (& your?) time here talking about talk – language. U.S. English, specifically. But this, my first post, is about how we (well, mostly how I) deal with privacy, anonymity, outing, linking one identity to another, maintaining separate secret identities. All while trying so hard to remaining true to my Self. Welcome to the Internet, our Internet.

As forgottenman, I don’t want you to know my real name, my street name. I don’t want you to know where I sleep, how to dial my phone number, knock on my very real front door. And when I amble over to my neighbor to chat about his tomato garden, I don’t want him to know that I have this other (more real) life, this identity as forgottenman, who has laid himself (myself) bare (well, more or less) in honestly and publicly answering over 4500 OkC questions – sex, politics, religion, relationships. I don’t want my physical, geographical neighborhood to know these things about me. I like being a stranger here in my small town. My Internet life is Real; my small-town life is an illusion that I preserve. I only eat and sleep and bathe in my house; I live on the Internet.

I’m just realizing that there’s a fundamental flaw in that paragraph. I say that I only have one “real” identity, but that’s neither accurate nor true. I contain multitudes, multiplicities, (maybe duplicities?). So I have to mull that over before I can revise the above and add more below. It’s way past my bedtime, so I’ll continue tomorrow. Or the day after. So much to ponder.

Very well then I contradict myself.


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