“… but with the internet it seems as if people are either going to have to come to the terms with the fact every person is fallible and their identity is subject to change, or stop digging.”
I think this is an extremely important point to take up in rhetoric — because you are absolutely right that the internet has complicated our understanding of identity, and the Charland piece is about how rhetoric should be viewed in terms of identification.
Charland states in his conclusion “…though we are subjects through language, and indeed can only speak as subjects, our subjectivity and ideological commitments are not fixed at our first utterance” (147). It goes all the way back to the pre-Socratic idea that there is no such thing as “being” only a constant and perpetual state of “becoming.” Our identities are fluid and we “perform” different identities based on the context we’re in. The internet, especially social media, complicates this idea because our “identity” that is displayed online is a static, catalogued type of identity — a repository of the self. That process of becoming becomes crystallized into a form of being in the digital artifacts we produce online. It doesn’t accurately represent the fluidity of self as we live it moment to moment.