Saturday, August 20, 2005

A bad case of 'disembodied closeness'

I have been reading lots of blogs today and thinking about the great people that I feel I have come to know better over the past few weeks as a blogger. I have also read a fabulous review of Mizuko Ito's new book, Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile phones in Japanese Life in Wired News. Here's my favourite piece of Xeni Jardin's review:

"Apart from the technology's role in sustaining familiar social structures, Personal, Portable, Pedestrian also examines how mobile devices facilitate new links, like that of the "intimate stranger."
Through controversial phone-dating websites or between text-message buddies, mobile media makes it possible for bonds to evolve between individuals who may never meet in real space, but who nonetheless share a vivid experience of disembodied closeness that follows them as they move through the world.
While traditional notions of cyberspace promise to unlock us from the limitations of offline relationships and geographic anchors, keitai space flows in and out of ordinary, everyday activities, nimbly integrating the virtual and physical realms."

Now this idea of 'disembodied closeness' interested me. As a blogger, I have the potential to experience "DC" - BUT, I think that I know all the people who post comments on my blog (thank you, thank you). SO accordingly, what I think I am experiencing is not a form of disembodied closeness to my fellow bloggers - but more a case of 'possibly on my best behaviour and trying to engage new friends, embodied in a range of professional and social contexts, but only ever partially represented closeness'. Yougetme???

Can we think then about different sorts of 'closeness' afforded by new technologies? A spectrum (I like those) from disembodied to embodied closeness that possibly engages different sorts of social identities? Perhaps I should shut up wittering and read the book!!!!

ANYWAY... This in turn has led me to think about the impact that - not merely the act of blogging - but the act of developing relationships online is having on me. I am really interested in Gee's ideas about social identities and Kevin Leander's ideas about lamination of identities, and cultural personas.... and am quite frankly (in a particularly self-absorbed sort of way) wondering just what sort of cultural persona I am presenting here.

So, I will think some more; get the book; and see where it gets me.

That's simply enough contemporary nagara for me tonight. I am trying to watch 'Lost' (episode 4 recorded on Wednesday), maintain a matrimonial state and do this, so signing off. Report on Lost and Bromwell High tomorrow.


Blogger Joolz said...

Really interesting SC.
I have been thinking too about how recently, I have been getting to know people from meatspace so much better, through my blog.
Guy Merchant has written somewhere about how teens often think they are talking on MSN to people in different countries, but their online friends are in fact all local.
Cultivation of new people a part of your space is of course possible and Flickr tries to support this through the 'contacts' system.
However, I tink it is possble to only do meaningful interactive stud=ff on a smaller scale.

Thanks for the tip off re Mimi's new book.

12:29 PM  

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