This week, I found it difficult to add to the discussion of online identities, because many others have also commented in this specific topic. The MOOC got me started however and I produced a chart to explain the benefits and disadvantages of having multiple or single identities online. I remembered Mark Weal saying in first year, “on the internet no one knows you’re a dog”, and this led me to do some Googling and found that funny video. I also aimed to improve further from previous blog posts – although it seemed a long time since I last wrote one.
Anonymity and Authenticity
Some of the posts in #UOSM2008 turned towards anonymity and authenticity. Jeremy summarised “anonymity conjures the risk of being inauthentic online and less trustworthy”. I then asked Ryan, who explained anonymous forums in his video, for his views on the authenticity of arguments in those forums, who replied, anonymity “will make the reader be more critical of a comment because it is not tied to an identifiable person”.
Further flashbacks to year 1 endured. Craig Webber’s guest lecture discussed trust in anonymous ‘carding’ forums. These anonymous users built up trust, that Jeremy said was lacking, with each other through engaging “in reciprocal and mutually beneficial acts” and discussion in sub-forums (Yip et. al., 2013. p.529).
On reflection, I have 2 identities then – it’s just that they’re the same account. LinkedIn and Twitter I mainly use for professional work, but Instagram and Snapchat can only be accessed if you’re in my ‘private sphere’ (Papacharissi, 2002). In the case of Facebook, I’ve used different access groups to control which people can see my private, most private and public posts, giving me different identities. This hopefully still gives authenticity to public posts as they’re linked to “an identifiable person” – from Ryan’s reply.
In the end, it’s up to you. You should do whatever will work best for you, but having 1 account provides needed authenticity.
(Word Count: 324)
- Papacharissi, Z. (2002). The virtual sphere. New Media & Society, 4(1), pp.9-27.
- Yip, M., Webber, C. and Shadbolt, N. (2013). Trust among cybercriminals? Carding forums, uncertainty and implications for policing. Policing and Society, 23(4), pp.516-539.