Topic Two – Reflections

Having delved further into the topic of online identity I discovered that there are many dimensions, often contradictory, on both sides of the argument. Many people referenced the show Catfish as an example of how a lack of  authenticity can be detrimental to individuals, however the argument I read ignored the prospect of a user creating another avatar in order to gain comfort and support when they perhaps want their real identity to be withheld.

A cultural difference was brought up by user Alexander Welch, who referenced Japans overwhelming use of anonymous social media. It hadn’t occurred to that social peer pressure could create the norm for anonymity on the internet. It would also be interesting to further investigate why Japan exhibits this trend for a lack of online identity, whereas other “developed” countries do not. Is it due to inherent behaviours of the people or the path on which internet usage developed in the country?

The concept of the use of online anonymity to prevent party users gaining information about you (via cookies and other sorts of tracking software) makes many relevant arguments, however there is wide spread easy to use software to prevent this and I have personally benefited from some of the elements, such as adverts to products that are relevant to ones I was previously searching for.

It has been noted that certain professions, such as teaching, may require multiple partial identities for security reasons, nonetheless there is a fine line with multiple separate identities. Ultimately I believe multiple partial identities are the best alternative when a single identity is not appropriate to an individual. The single identity is greatly exacerbated by linking social media sites together for professions such as academics, who aim to expand their network as far as possible.



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