Swedes are nosier than Brits & virtual identities


Another gem from The Register for you.

Almost two-thirds of Swedes secretly read their partner’s SMS messages

Almost half of British women, 45 per cent, owned up to secretly checking their partner’s messages, compared to 31 per cent of men

I’m not sure what any of this proves, other than I find pointless surveys interesting. I’ve never secretly checked anyone’s SMS log, and frankly the idea had never even occured to me. I figure trust breeds trust. It’s a strange world where people will go to bed with people that they don’t trust, where mobile phones are considered to be better representations of a person’s true self than the words they say to you. The world of digital identity is something that is appearing all through mainstream people’s lives with modern technology and no-one is noticing a thing. I’m really not sure if I like that or not… Somehow I feel that maybe we should have a more integrated identity, so we don’t need to be someone else online, in text messages, on the phone, in emails, on forums, etc.

Maybe we just need more honesty. Ann Kaloski wrote an essay in 1997 called Bisexuals Making Out with Cyborgs: Politics, Pleasure, Con/fusion in which she looked at the way that virtual identities mean that sex-play online may be, for example, allow heterosexual women to have sex with other women, but those other women may be a man pretending to be a woman. There were two things I found very interesting in the essay, firstly that people usually didn’t actually care what the physical sex of their partner was, only their virtual sex, and secondly that many people found that their online personalities gave them confidence to be more assertive in life. I don’t have time to get into the full details of the meaning of these findings, but they certainly gave me something interesting to ponder on.

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