Monday, January 30, 2012

Online Identity

I read an article from Colorado that had to do with Internet Bullies. The students at the school think bullying is heightened because people use Facebook to pick on people. It gives them more power, and adults are less likely to catch on to it, and it continues from the website into the hallways and classrooms. One girl made a good point that I strongly agree with. The fact isn't so much that a person is "hiding behind the keyboard" but it's that they can't see the emotion or the reaction to know whether or not they've taken their jokes too far. It's not Face to Face anymore, it's become Facebook to Facebook.

The internet has actually given more people the ability to become a bully. People who would regularly keep their mouth shut, and walk away get the courage to comment, and even become online Trolls.

There's a lot of talk about how people don't communicate in person anymore. People will "chat" or exchange messages and comments online, but when they see them in person, they act differently. Internet Identities have changed the way we interact with people and affect how we see others.

We've put a lot of emphasis on the internet having "Great Anonymity". Users have the ability to hide behind anonymous comments and make up "screen names" to hide who they really are, but can they really hide? After reading
this article,I came to realize that if someone really wanted to know "who you really are", it's actually pretty simple. I've watched every law and order episode I could get my hands on, and I've seen them go through and connect locations, with screen names, and IP addresses. I know that might be "television", but I also know it's possible. Every time a person signs up for a website and enter information such as birthdate, zip code, security password, etc., all those things can be linked and sorted through to narrow down who you really are, and where to find you. Or at least the computer you've been using. Pretty Scary -- THAT'S what we're calling anonymity.

(In all reality, if you're simple using an anonymous screen name to go on random chat sites and pretend to be someone you aren't , you'll have to really upset someone for them to want to go through all the trouble of actually finding you.)

While discussing the different types of identities that affect a person's actual identity, I began to ponder the way they interact and connect.
With the advances in social networking, such as Facebook, I believe a person's online identity must mix with what we know to be an "ascribed identity" to get an actual perceived identity. A user might have more "guts" to express themselves differently through a keyboard, but when they are doing so on sites where people in their daily lives, such as classmates, can view it, it transfers into how they are perceived in the real world.
For example, a girl that I follow on Twitter goes to Flagler, but we're not friends. The way she expresses herself through what she tweets, is one of her "online identities". They way I see her in person and judge her by what she wears, how she talks, and acts on campus is known as her ascribed identity - But now I'm combining those separate identities. Now, what kind of Identity is that? Hm.