Alternate Identities Provide So Much

In the previous lecture, we spent a large portion of time discussing the creation of one’s own identity on the internet and how drastically changed it can be from the identity they have in person. This is something that provides the basis for a lot of arguments people have been having for many years. Personally, I play a lot of video games and spend close to 3-4 hours a day under a “different” identity. No one I played with really knows who I am and no one I talk to knows what I do on a daily basis. It really is a whole new way for people to see me. Whether or not I am extremely similar to the way I am in person is for other people to decide, however, the ease at which identity changes can be accomplished is quite astounding.

There are two sides to the equation when it comes to having an alternate identity. There is quite obviously the negative side, which almost every child has heard stories about growing up. Child predators and the like tend to use the Internet to their advantage. ABC did a great article about how people can never really know who they are talking to online. It is really way too easy to hide an identity. A teen in MA had become friends with a couple in New York, and without really realizing who the person/s he was talking to were, he got into a situation he really didn’t want to be a part of. Another person in the same story came into contact with a sexual predator she thought was her friend. These kinds of things are the very negative side of something that I think has just as much of a positive influence as well. (http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=130735

Now, back to the nice side of things. There are plenty of people who benefit from having the ability to become a new person online. Something as simple as being able to goof around with people and not having them judge you in a game to something as serious as a person who needs help but is embarrassed to ask for it. Before the internet became extremely popular, people had to go in person to get any kind of psychological or medical help they needed. However, with the ability to have a different identity online, people feel much more comfortable asking for help and solving their problems behind a mask. The ability to hide your identity really is a double-edged sword. Plenty of websites are used for anonymous help. Things like crisischat.com and blahtherapy.com can really help to assist people with their issues. A great article written on Blah Therapy does a great job of explaining the situation. People really don;t like to admit weakness. The internet allows them to do that without having to show their weak side. Even on the fun side of things, the amount of times I have been playing a game and ran into someone who made me laugh while talking to them, but in reality, I really had no idea who they were. ( http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/05/02/feel-like-venting-to-a-complete-stranger-try-blahtherapy-com/)

I think after looking at both sides of the argument, only one thing can be said for certain. There is no way to believe everything we read online. As much as we may want to, there will never be a guarantee that what we are reading or what we are seeing is real. I really enjoy thinking about being able to be a completely different person, but the fear of running into someone who isn’t there for the same innocent intentions is always something that will sit at the back of everyone’s minds. Overall, I think it really is up to the person using it.

 

Advertisements

7 Comments

  1. Well done blog! I have never thought of the positives of online personalities. The benefits you listed are enlightening; though I still think people put too much focus on their online identities. I know I’ve had some fun joking with people on xbox live.

  2. I like that false identities can be seen as a positive. For me, highschool was nightmarish, I was bullied, ostracized, and honestly just treated like shit. Because I was different. I went to a highschool in the suburbs of Cincinnati with 2100 students and graduated with just shy of 500. I came to Ohio from a smaller town in Missouri and grew up hunting, fishing, frogging and shooting. NOBODY in my highschool did that and I was pegged as that weird redneck kid.

    When I decided to attend The Ohio State University, I reinvented myself. I knew that I would be able to find a group I would fit in with by still being myself, but I still made some changes. Without completely changed my identity, I managed to alter it enough to avoid the social exclusion I endured in highschool. While the notion of someone posing as someone they aren’t can be perceived as dangerous, they can also be beneficial to people in my situation, who need to do something to improve some aspect of their life.

  3. Great blog i found it interesting to hear about some of the downside and beneficial ways internet chat helps even with some “catfish”. Its great people can get new lives basically on video games or web chat because sometimes if used correctly it can benefit the person into talking more. However bullying over the internet may also be a problem especially catfish bullying.

  4. I really like how you were able to see so many positives of false identities on the internet. Sometimes an online escape provides the small break from reality that people need. Like you said, anonymous websites are also great to protect yourself if you need help. Some people use these opportunities to put themselves or others in negative situations. This is when false identities become a problem. Great views on both sides!

  5. This is a great writing and I agree with you that no one’s identity online is credible and reliable. Even though there are some truth, but there might also be some lies next to the truth, or there might be a time when both when the truth or the lies are vague. One of the example that we all know is internet fraud. Those fraudsters send you something attractive to you and once you get into it, your commuter might catch viruses. These fraudsters might look nice in the public but no one really knows what they are they planning.

  6. You did a really good job on this blog. I never really thought about the positives of having a false online identity. I always thought of it as a scam, or someone playing around for the heck of it. The point you made of using a false identity online to take a break from reality was a good point, although I think some people take it too far.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s