Passwords: “the tchotchkes of our inner lives”

I HIGHLY recommend this article on something so banal that I’ve never really given much thought to it: passwords. What could be more appropriate for a course on narrative and technology than a look at how we impose narrative on our computers, iphones, bank accounts, facebook accounts, etc… ? The techsavy thing to do would be to use random strings of letters and numbers, but instead the majority of us have multiple “keepsake passwords.” Urbina looks at the psychological and anthropological reasons behind why certain people choose certain phrases for their passwords.

His thesis seems to be that: “We try to make the best of our circumstances, converting our shackles into art. Amid all that is ephemeral, we strive for permanence, in this case ignoring instructions to make passwords disposable, opting instead to preserve our special ones. These very tendencies are what distinguish us as a species.” This article looks at both stories from individuals who use passwords that have a certain personal significance to them, as well as general trends among users in general.

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One Response to Passwords: “the tchotchkes of our inner lives”

  1. Cinthya says:

    I really enjoyed the nytimes article. It made me think of how we imprint our humanness to the cold rules technology lays down and thereby, make it our own. Even in something as simple as framing a comment. Should it be formal, or friendly? Should I put a smiley at the end? After all, it could be the first and last impression you make on an absolute stranger. And isn’t tchotchkes an absolutely brilliant word?


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