Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blog 7: Kelly Dobson, Danah Boyd

In her essay "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites", Danah Boyd argues for the importance of the public in the development of the self. As Nancy Fraser describes, publics "are arenas for the formation and enactment of social identities." For Boyd, the internet in general, and social network sites in particular, are becoming increasingly important means for learning social norms and constructing social identities.

I contend that Kelly Dobson's art pieces might do for the psychological and emotional (or 'private' self) what MySpace and Facebook might be doing for the public or social self. [Please bear with me, as this is not a fully formed thought.] For instance, Dobson's OMO is a machine companion that mimics human traits and it provides 'empathic relationships with humans' ( OMO helps provide therapy for the individual, but does so in that way that gives agency to the person who needs care. OMO expands the possibilities for technology to intervene in the construction of the self, but in a very different way than MySpace or Facebook. Here, OMO allows the individual to reflect and heal emotionally, thereby constructing a healthier psychological identity.

I'd like to keep exploring the possible relationships between technology and the development of the self, and will be doing so in the context of my second paper.

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