Identity and Social Networking ID’s- Post #4

User ID’s and the idea of “Identity Projection” on Social Networking sites is a very interesting concept. First off I feel to an extent people’s ID’s on the internet are a product of the time they are created. Over the years trends in ID’s tend to vary based on the popularity of different sites, as well as different fads of that time period.

In conclusion, internet IDs tend to say a lot about a person, who they are, and possibly who they want to be.

For example years ago MySpace was THE social networking site, it was the “new thing” that everyone wanted to be a part of. If you didn’t have a MySpace you weren’t “in” or you weren’t “cool” or it means you haven’t kept up with the fast moving pace of the new world of social networking. (Sound familiar? Name today’s sites that would have a similar concept of a must have, twitter, facebook, instagram, pintrest, vine)

Because these sites had such power in their popularity they are able to dictate how their users use them, and to an extent they can dictate how the users choose to identify themselves. First and foremost being their user ID. Like I mentioned this varies with each site. It depends on what that site allows you to choose for a name. Do you have to put your name? Do you have to create a unique screen name?

With these options then comes each members choice of how they want to project themselves on the internet. Do you simply choose your name? Do you make up a name? Do you add in numbers or extra letters, or adjectives? Ex. BlondChick1234 sound familiar? AIM anyone?

Whether we realize it or not, these screennames or user ID’s show the world an image of ourselves that we want to project. Usually we like to project the best image of ourselves because we know the world is watching, so what do screen names like Blondbabe123 say about someone? Or what does it say about us if we simply use our real name? Are we boring? Are we not scared for people to find us, and see the real us? Not a internet created depiction of us?

I think people choose these names based on their own self efficacy as well as the image they would like to project of themselves. With this said, I think something very unique to the internet is the ability for people to truly have multiple identities. Is this necessarily a bad thing? No, I don’t think so, however what happens when these identities start to overlap?

I think people choose different user ID’s based on what website they are on, what they will be using it for, and who will see it. I think that certain websites such as Twitter, or Tumblr, or any internet Forum allows a sense of anonymity if desired. Any one of us could create one of those accounts with a different name, and not be seen by our friends. What is the purpose of this? Well, I think doing so allows people to express themselves and their interests without fear of judgement from others. The internet allows communities to build out of similar interests, and the unique ability to create your own identity from scratch, even if it is not who you are in real life. Maybe it is someone you want to be, but can’t in the real world.

One thought on “Identity and Social Networking ID’s- Post #4

  1. Stephen,

    Hey! yeah we are in ANOTHER class together! I imagine we’ll be commenting back and forth in this one too 🙂 As you said, we definitely had overlap in our thoughts about user ID’s and screen names. It’s funny because despite not using my old AIM screen name (circa like 5th grade AOL) there are friends of mine who still remember it. It’s embarrassing to say the least.

    You mentioned about how you can lie online but not in the real world and that’s something I truly don’t like about the internet. People hide behind these facades. The intentions behind some of the acts people take part in online is enough to make you throw up. The lengths some people will go through to establish fake accounts to take advantage of others, sometimes even friends, is crazy! For example, there have been situations of bullying among teenagers from fake accounts that have led to the suicides we read about. When I was younger I was out of the house at soccer practices and with friends, who had time to do these things? Now everyone has the time because the internet seems to be the only all encompassing activity. Why play sports when you can say you like them in your user name? You don’t even have to prove you like it!

    I think there is danger in the growing complacency that it is okay to have several different identities online. And I don’t mean like, different aspects of yourself, I mean truly different personalities and identities to cater to different people. At some point you will begin to become these different personalities and it will come crashing together in your real life. Is it worth it? That sort of thing (if to the degree I’m discussing) always seems to catch up with people. I imagine a husband or wife creating a different identity to cyber “cheat” or escape. If there are problems in your real life causing you to pretend to be someone else, I think you should talk to a therapist. But these days, the internet seems to exist as a false therapy room, and strangers that may or may not care about you, your doctors. How scary is that? Vulnerable people looking for help/love from strangers with little to no interest in their well-being? I suppose we’re inclined to say they should know better, but will there be a time when it’s so common that they won’t? Are we there now?

    I guess I just think that if you wouldn’t want the people you see in real life to know who you are online, then you shouldn’t be doing that. Unless you’re gay and stuck in the closet and the internet is your outlet… or something that is serious like that where the ‘internet’ you is the real you. In that event, I would hope that the true you would become the same person as you are online and in real life…

    I look forward to more chats!

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