I was intrigued by a reference to Boon and Sinclair (2009) in Sian’s paper so went off and read it.

This bit caught my eye:

Facebook user profiles are obvious constructs: there is truth in them, but invariably artifice as well. Thus, to some, these digital selves become fractured, confused reflections of a person, never wholly unreal, but never wholly real either—a seeming half truth. Disquiet arises then in having to ask the questions how much truth exists in a profile and how much trust should one attribute to the individual behind it? Even real world friendships can be confused or diminished by interactions with a digital self which seems to contradict the known real world self. The intermingling warp and weft of the real and the unreal can lead some to increased feelings of distrust and isolation.

I passed it on to a younger academic colleague interested in Facebook who disagreed totally. Here’s what she wrote:

I have never felt more connected to my friends all over than i have with facebook, skype, etc. I think in fact, instead of fracturing, these sites bring parts of your life crashing together, your boss, cousins, friends, colleagues all come together. In some senses, for me, it brings my fractured “real self” with different groups of friends or people all together in one space.

Maybe interesting in connection with our lifestream experiments …
References

Boon, S., & Sinclair, C. (2009). A world I don’t inhabit: disquiet and identity in Second Life and Facebook. Educational Media International. 46(2): 99-110.

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