Thursday, April 2, 2009

Online Identity Revealed?

Online identity seems to be a hot topic in class discussions. In the day and age of technological everythingness- online identity is important to consider while spending time online. We often forget that the image you project online is just as, or even more so important than that of what you show of yourself in person. At least in person, those around you get a feel of what your like and who you are. Online, they have to take your word for it.

Game theory talks about how identity functions in the online world and how people behave in online situations. Given the reality that online dating, social networking online and other online communication methods are sweeping society away- creating and maintaining an online identity is unavoidable.

I myself am very weary of the internet for social purposes. I do not use online dating servies, however, my best friend is an avid fan. I make fun of her constantly, but she swears by it. Plenty of Fish- how cute. Her online profile contains a list of activities she claims to enjoy. White water rafting, mountain climbing, rollerblading- just to name a few. I've never in my 8 years of knowing her witnesses any of these acts. Actually, in all truth we did go white water rafting- once. This online identity she clings to isnt real. For the most part, its all fake. It is what she wants to project. Im sure she would love to do these things, but it just doesnt happen. So I continuously poke fun at her Plenty of Fish account. The guys she meets on there have never worked out. For the most part just been disapointments looking for a hook-up. They are not who they say they are either- not 100% at least.

It all relates back to game theory. Its a strategic thing. Developing and maintaining an online identity. Facebook is another great example. I dont have pictures on there that I dont like. I untag myself in pictures I do not want people seeing on my profile. I dont have much in my profile written about me. My photos are of me partying and travelling. My friends list contains only people I know, and I do not accept invitations to lame parties or groups I think are stupid. This is my online Facebook identity. Carefully groomed to be what I want it to be. Its not the real me. There no pictures of me doing homework or waking up and brushing my teeth- its doesnt happen. But it does happen. But not online. My online self doesnt clip her toe nails or burp loud in front of people. My online self doesnt vacuum the carpet or pull gross hair out of the sink. This is what I actually do in real life.

So it all boils down to what you want others to think of you. What you are on the internet is not what you are in real life- at least not 100%. The most important thing is to remember that those standards apply to the people we deal with on the other side of the screen.

1 comment:

  1. i definitely agree with everything you've said. it's a very strange world out there, and sites like facebook are designed to basically make you pick and choose how you want to present yourself.

    the other side of it, to me, is that it's easier to be honest online, where people don't know you and can't really judge you. if you're posting under a different name (a name that is not real, that is, you're calling yourself raindrop instead of george), you're not identifying as yourself (yet not as someone else)... perhaps honesty can be achieved then?