Things have been changing at a phenomenal rate for the last forty years especially since the introduction of the Personal Computer. Over time now it is not only the evolution of the PC that is important and we’re caught in its web hook, line and sinker but you could say that in the last forty years the digital self has more or less emerged. The digital self is more than an identity but it is all that surrounds us and enables the way we interact with the the world and the way the world interacts with us. It consists of the devices we use to carry out our functions/our tasks and presents to the world a person that is either interacting based on technology or the lack thereof. That it exists is self-evident but the value or detriment of this has yet to be determined. It is not that the person has become a machine but to function the person requires digital tools.
It is important to realize this. Those that use the available tools may be no more successful than those that don’t. For those considered early adopters one might think they present a well rounded digital self. This might be true or completely false. It can also fall on some gradation of the digital self and may be reflected in the degree we say we are successful or happy or non-of the above.
The Self and the Digital Self
The Self and the Digital Self almost implies we have two selves. We don’t. Who we are is a function of our genetics and environment. Of the two it has been frequently asked what the role of nature vs nurture is. We are basically asking who are we. How do we define ourselves. It is commonly accepted though that we are an evolving gamut of variables influenced by numerous things such as the environment and nature.
We can say such things as so and so is hot headed but a very bright individual and on it goes to define character. We can easily say at the end of the day who we are and possibly we might say who he want to become.
The Digital Self is the person that uses digital tools which further defines that person. If someone chooses not to use these tools they are in a different position than those that do. It might be said that everyone has to use digital tools to some degree now or they won’t be able to function.
This is more or less true. However, there are those that live a fully digital lifestyle. They read their books digitally and watch movies the same way. In many ways their tools define them. Some use Digital tools extensively. They are more than technicians or the expression of their job. Those that use digital tools always in all aspects of their lives embody the digital self.
Live and Breath Digitally
There are those that do everything digitally. These people may not have used cash in a long time preferring to do all their transactions digitally. They may represent the cashless society.
These people have a computer for a certain kind of task and a phone for another along with some other digital medium for a different function. Abstract in thought the digital self exists. Some may choose to use only the bare basics of digital tools whereas others maybe only define what they do digitally. Those that we may say are addicted to the digital world simply have digital selves and to pry away that is to pry a part of themselves from who they are. In a very short historical period of time society has not only encouraged this but has embraced it as something better than to just be yourself without the digital. Some would feel these people are more human; others might feel these people could be lost in the cold fighting for survival. It is only time that will tell this story but there is an importance in recognizing it.