That’s the famous online adage before Facebook and Google.
Kaycee Nicole is a teenager who owns a blog called Living Colours, where she described in detail the ups and downs of her battle with leukemia, which attracted a great deal of attention and sympathy. When she died on May 14, 2001, the outpouring if grief from her online fans was real and palpable. On May 19, the user “acridrabbit” posted a question: “Is it possible that Jaycee did not exist?” Not only were there inconsistencies in her story, but it also appeared that no one had ever met Jaycee in person. Immediately, some MetaFilters snoops started to pick apart the story, even when as Jaycee believers claim asserted that they had talked to Jaycee on the phone, as well as her mother, several times. But the truth was that Kaycee was just a fiction character created by Debbie Swenson. Swenson admitted the next day so.
That is a true story I read on Wired magazine, and cases like Kaycee’s are surprisingly common. There is controversy around online identity, and I can see why. The Internet is no longer the Internet before. Today, people use the Internet a lot for networking, like to find a boyfriend/ girlfriend or to find career opportunity. There are also other problems about online identity, like it may affect teenagers mental health or their real identity. And that’s why people are getting more serious with an authentic online identity. People now cannot use fake name on Facebook, as it will detect names that sounds unreal. Its increase on the insistence on the use of real names, along with similar policy by Google+ could end up with profound consequences for life online, which has long been free and easy into a more controlled place. But the question is, is it that good to eradicate the online persona? I understand the need to know who you are communicating with on the Internet so you know you’re not cheated, or you’re not falling in love with nobody, but there are people with real life struggles and they go online to find a more restful self of them. A real online persona and people all know who you really are or an anonymous one and you can be whoever you want to be on the virtual world, which would you prefer?
This will be a spearhead topic I will explore further for my final project, and I’d like to say thanks to the person who suggested me this idea. For my final project, I will keep working on my existing project for DIGC202, which is called “The Introversion”. This is a blog where I post my findings around mental problems based on my past experience, which focuses mostly on introversion: how it’s like and how to stay mentally healthy. For DIGC202, I mostly used the medium of text, and sometimes memes. For me, they are the media that have enough capability to present what I want to say, but for this semester, I will try working on stop motion video in order to make the site look livelier. As I keep researching on introversion in general, there are two book that will appear mainly on the list: “The Introvert advantage: How to thrive in the extroverted world” by M.O.Laney and “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” by Susan Cain. However, as mentioned above, I will investigate the relation between introverts and the Internet, since it is known that innies have a very strong relationship with the Internet, and also the role of online identity in introverts’ mental life.
- Krotoski, A 2012, “Online identity: is authentically or anomaly more important?”, The Guardian, 20 April < https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity>
- Pickhardt, C 2014, “Adolescence and Internet Identity”, Psychology Today, 26 May < https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201405/adolescence-and-internet-identity>
- Seife, C 2014, “The weird reason why people make up false identities on the Internet”, WIRED magazine, 29 July < https://www.wired.com/2014/07/virtual-unreality-the-online-sockpuppets-that-trick-us-all/>