Reconciling Narrative and Online Identities: Stories of Technology in the New York Times Modern Love Column Open Access

Conway, Hannah Elizabeth (Spring 2018)

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Social psychologists have written extensively about how our life stories are the foundation of our identities.Reconciling Narrative and Online Identities” investigates how the advent of cyberculture and technology has introduced a new way of telling our life stories, and subsequently, has transformed our identities.  It uses personal essays published in the New York Times’ Modern Love column as insight into how this construction of virtual stories impacts the offline lives of their narrators—and how people write about this change.

Table of Contents


At A Café in Copenhagen

Overview of Thesis


Chapter One: Narrative Identity and Stories of the Self    7


Chapter Two: The Stories We Construct Online             19



Chapter Three: Illusions of Control

Identity as a Curated Brand

Clara Dollar’s “My So-Called (Instagram) Life”

Sage Cruser’s “Cropped Out of My Own Fantasy”       25                                          


Chapter Four: Screened Intimacies

Justin Race’s “Words With (I Wish We Were More Than) Friends”

Caitlin Dewey’s “Even in Real Life, There Were Screens Between Us”

Chris Osborn’s “Downloadable. Unsustainable, Too”

Davis Webster’s “Swiping Right on Tinder, but Staying Put”

Anita Felicelli’s “Finally Stepping Out From Behind The Computer”     35                                                                                     


Chapter Five: The Inability to Forget

Heather L. Hunter’s “Traveling the Too-Much-Information Highway”

Amy Pittman’s “The Internet Still Thinks I’m Pregnant”      48         



Chapter Six: Reconnection

Tré Miller Rodríguez’s “A Husband Lost, A Daughter Found”

Lori Ayotee’s “A Culture Gap The Size of An Ocean, Bridged By Facebook”   55



Conclusion       61



Bibliography    66         

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