The End of Forgetting

My point is that there is something liberating about being able to forget the past and reinvent yourself in the present. Much of growing up, I would argue, is about reinventing yourself multiple times, and that requires being able to forget who you were six months ago, three years ago, 10 years ago.

Vox: The End of Forgetting

I can envision a social media world where you can choose to wipe clean your slate at points of life transition, removing the media and the social connections that tie you to that old you.

Or even one where you can engage in role segmentation more effectively, having a work role, a close friends role, a club member role, an online forum role, all at the same time. This would be different from keeping a centralized profile and hiding parts or posts from different sub-groups in that it would be showing different groups different additive information. In today’s world, person is multiple selves all before lunch.

The challenge is in social media typically generating income by shaving off the corners of self to put people into specific and perhaps unchanging boxes for viewing ads. The motivation isn’t there for enabling self-exploration as an ongoing and ephemeral excursion.

The metaphors we use to talk about things are powerful. For example,¬†when talking about the internet lately the “flow of information” is seen as a given. It’s like drinking from a firehose. We’re engulfed. We’re drowning in it.

What if instead information online were a river, continuously available to carry us where we need to go, there to quench our thirst for knowledge, and distract us with cool waters for as long as we want to dip in our toes?

Don’t you feel calmer already?

An old tradition

grad robe

Since I graduated during summer term, I didn’t need to walk in the fall graduation ceremony. I did though, and I’m glad I did. It reminds me of all the heritage we are carrying and how we as people are continually working to improve our scope of knowledge. It’s easy to lose sight of that hunched over a computer, and humbling to be reminded of it.

“It’s More How People See You…”

After more than a year of work, my master’s thesis was approved for final submission to the Graduate School! It has been a challenging project, but a fascinating one due to my own experiences and hearing students’ stories everyday. A big thank you to my committee and–most especially–my advisor, Dr. Christina Weber. Also, my husband, who possesses infinite patience.

Here is the overview in a nutshell/abstract:

“IT’S MORE HOW OTHER PEOPLE PERCEIVE YOU”: SOCIAL IDENTITY FORMATION THROUGH STUDY ABROAD

This research investigated how study abroad affected students’ sense of identity and how interactions between study abroad students and other people shaped their understanding of their identity. While abroad, students taking part in a five-week study abroad program started to recognize having an American self and used behavior and clothing to negotiate their association with this role. The relationships between students and the program leader, other students, friends, and family members were instrumental in the recognition and development of their identity. Students also started creating a study abroad self before departure and used points of discomfort as an opportunity to adjust how they defined this identity. Student responses indicated that study abroad offers them insight into how a sense of identity is related to the context of place and people, as well as an opportunity to negotiate their identity both while abroad and after return.

Follow-up regarding The Help

I’m glad to see that I’m not the only person who noticed the issues with the narrative framing for The Help. Unfortunately it sounds like the problem extends from the marketing for the book and movie to the structure of the movie itself. Erik Childress at eFilmCritic comments:

Aibileen and Minny are wonderful characters, so well played by Davis and Spencer, each bringing just the right touch of pain and sass so as not to become caricatures. Both, but especially Davis, are likely to be talked of highly around Oscar time. So why not start with them and end with them instead of using them as crutches for white girl success and insecurities?

The full review is here.