Virtually You

Virtually You

The Dangerous Powers of the E-personality

Book - 2011
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Whether sharing photos or following financial markets, many of us spend a shocking amount of time online. While the Internet can enhance well-being, Elias Aboujaoude has spent years treating patients whose lives have been profoundly disturbed by it. Part of the danger lies in how the Internet allows us to act with exaggerated confidence, sexiness, and charisma. This new self, which Aboujaoude dubs our "e-personality," manifests itself in every curt email we send, Facebook "friend" we make, and "buy now" button we click. Too potent to be confined online, however, e-personality traits seep offline, too, making us impatient, unfocused, and urge-driven even after we log off. Virtually You uses examples from Aboujaoude's personal and professional experience to highlight this new phenomenon. The first scrutiny of the virtual world's transformative power on our psychology, Virtually You shows us how real life is being reconfigured in the image of a chat room, and how our identity increasingly resembles that of our avatar.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393070644
Branch Call Number: 616.8584 A155v 2011
Characteristics: 349 p. ; 25 cm


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Nov 15, 2017

A bit dated in some of the examples by now, but the author's observations are only more prevalent a few years after writing. The main intent by the psychiatrist-author is to examine how a digitally connected world can change who we are as human beings. He does so by presenting a set of frightening but well-told stories about bad behavior behind the anonymity of a screen, and how the very nature of ubiquitous electronic communication may drive us to even worse behavior: from narcissism to bullying and brutality; from magnifying our impulsive behaviors to allowing too much freedom in sexual relations; from flabby thinking and reasoning to giving up our privacy.

Dec 17, 2013

I was expecting better. The author fails to demonstrate his foundational premise - that the e-personality is separate or distinct from the offline personality - and then tries to use "common sense" stories to prove his points about the negative side of the supposed alter-ego.

All in all, too many assumptions backed up by too little evidence makes for a waste of time if you were expecting to actually learn something.

This is a well-written, thoughtful and scary book. At the same time, it was miuch more entertaining than I expected it to be. Aboujaoude writes accessibly, and he's a natural story-teller. He has important things to say here about changes in neurology, psychology and personality that appear to be linked to the character and ubiquity of electronic communication.

Mar 17, 2011

Fine overview of possible detrimental effects of our cyborg existence.


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