True Life thoughts
After watching the full documentary and doing a presentation on True Life and the girls featured who spent their identities online, I thought about recurring patterns of identity formation in relation to the articles and readings on the issue.
Shayla Thiel-Stern's book describes how girls adapted a different lifestyle simply through instant messaging, only to transform through more advanced communication techniques online. Even I assume a somewhat different identity online; I refer to myself in most of my online sites and memberships in online communities as The Sports Brain, a nickname I selected because of my passion and knowledge of multiple sports. However, I manage to balance my online activity with things people were accustomed to doing long before the rise of the Internet (going to movies, games, etc.)
A theory I developed about why men and women become so addicted to online ventures, based on the materials I read in class and articles outside of class, is a lack of acceptance in the regular community. Judy in True Life had a social anxiety disorder and would often seclude herself in the real world, leaving her family at a young age. Others had problems with family relationships and saw the online community as a way to fill in the blanks. If online users struggle to excel in certain skills, it may increase the chance of them turning to online addiction to RPGs or virtual networking sites in order to achieve acceptance and achievement in their lives. Using the Internet to promote yourself is not a problem, but it can be difficult to detect if someone has a problem with "overlogging on." I'm sure there's some scholarly research with online addictions and real world feelings. I just haven't found them yet.