UOSM2008 Summarising Topic 2

To summarise my thoughts on Topic 2 is a difficult task as it is an immensely vast topic that raises many questions. I chose to focus on online ‘authenticity’ and online ‘anonymity’ and their respective advantage and disadvantages owing to reading Aleks Krotoski’s piece in the guardian here. You can find my initial thoughts on Topic 2 in full here.

My argument was as follows and remains unchanged: I believe it is possible to have multiple online identities whilst maintaining a level of ‘authenticity’ as multiple identities allow you to filter your online ‘content’ for online audiences as appropriate. This stance and viewpoint on the topic would have been greatly improved or strengthened by the inclusion of Erving Goffman’s theories on the presentation of self in the ‘offline’ world. I was introduced to Goffman’s theory by Samantha Eslinger‘s post which highlighted how this segregated self, acting accordingly or in a manner that is deemed appropriate in ‘offline’ environments predates issues of multiple identities online and the question of authenticity or integrity that this raises.

When faced with the choice of ‘anonymity’ or ‘authenticity’ online, it is clear that I value ‘authenticity’ highly for numerous reasons. The results of the poll on my blog post posing the question: ‘What do you value more ‘authenticity’ or ‘anonymity’ online?’ Indicate that the majority of this post’s audience (66.7% of voters) share this view also, with only a 1/3 of voters favouring online ‘anonymity’.

As the two week period progressed, and through further research and discussing the topic at length with other members of #UOSM2008 I began to think more extensively about issues of privacy. With my marked belief in using ‘authentic’ real name led accounts as opposed to disassociated escapable pseudonyms, it was imperative that I then, consider the privacy risks or Internet related dangers associated. I began researching and thinking about our data as our digital identity with this article on The Guardian which makes the argument that we need to reclaim control:http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/19/data-digital-identity-cullen-hoback and Eli Pariser’s TED talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOWvbUv2qGQ which sheds light on how the erosion of online anonymity could be problematic resulting in an ‘unbalanced information diet’.

Kaya Stefferud‘s blog post touched upon the amalgamation of ‘data’ forming our online identities: ip-address, demographics, interests, purchasing and search history and this was particularly interested and coincided with my developing thoughts on the topic. Moreover, this is a particularly interesting read that explores the booming market for our online identities – our ‘data’:http://www.pcworld.com/article/258034/data_snatchers_the_booming_market_for_your_online_identity.html

I remain in favour of ‘authentic’ identity and use of real names on the internet but through doing so are we opening ourselves up to a greater problem? Do you think we are unintentionally leaving ourselves open to privacy threats and unwelcome surveillance when using our ‘authentic’ identity online?

These are still questions which I will continue to develop thoughts on past this topic as I am yet to fully understand the potential consequences. Time will tell how my ‘data’ will be used.


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