Pecha Kucha slides
What is anonymity? Anonymity is defined as the state of being anonymous, which is to not be identified by name. Many people like the feeling of being mysterious. They like to lay low and fly under the radar. This is fine, as long as these people intend no harm. It is when the wrong people get to stay anonymous is when the trouble starts.
Online anonymity is the act of staying anonymous online. Sometimes we want to stay anonymous, while other times we want to be noticed. Ben Rooney brings up the point in his article “The Debate over ONline Anonymity” which is published in the Wall Street Journal, that many comment sway the readers to one side or the other. Many times, validity is at steak.
Social Media and online anonymity go hand in hand. Any social media site has its skeptics. Remember when the Cordell kids got one million “likes” in seven hours for a puppy? Or when you want to follow Lady Gaga on Twitter but hundreds of accounts show up? How does this happen? No on really knows. But think about it– it’s kind of creepy.
Anonymous gamers pretty much live a double life. They have reality and that have virtual reality. A 47 year old man could be playing a 17 year old girl. In Gee’s article, “What Video Gamers Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy”, he introduces a new kind of literacy, gaming literacy. There is a whole new world of language many people don’t know about.
There are many different steps to understand online anonymity. The first step is very basic but many people could not give you an answer to the question “What is a blog?” Rettberg’s answer from his book “Bloging” simply states “to really understand a blog, you need to read them over time.” So, I encourage everyone to get out there and see what the millions of blogs have to offer.
Gaming anonymously is when gamers socialize with one another typically hiding their personal self behind a character that they create. While some gamers are completely different characters in the game than they are in real life, others are exactly the same. The article “Who am We” actually touches on a specific incident of a reclusive guy who proposed to his gamer girlfriend on LambdaMOO.
The article, “Staying Anonymous Online” says that playing these games give users the freedom of speech because their real life selves are hidden by the gaming character. Many people are more willing to speak their minds on the games because they have no fear of being frowned upon in reality. This is a great aspect of the anonymous gaming world, but there are also drawbacks like harassment and virtual rape.
An article about virtual rape by Julian Dibbell actually goes into detail about a character named Dr. Bungle who would lock other female characters into a room and force them to have sex with him. While Dr. Bungle may have been living out some sick fantasy in the video game, his actions emotionally hurt the women in real life. This type of anonymous virtual harassment is an unfortunate reality of being able to hide identity.
The idea of games being better than reality can also lead to video game addiction, like what happened to the one student in the video we watched called “Are Games Better Than Real Life?” These players have a hard time separating the real world from the virtual one. Many gamers tend to want to keep their anonymous playing nature rather than deal with their real life selves and it’s more dulled down version.
Gaming is a great anonymity tool that will likely become more valued for both play and education over the years. It is so simple to create a virtual character on a game and potentially live a second life, so there is endless opportunity. “Who Am We” says they let the gamer explore worlds and live lives that would be impossible to in reality. Likewise, anonymity also plays a part in social media.
Dick Clarence Hardt talked about how each website has their own way of identifying a person . We web users register with individual sites numerous times what about registering once and being done with it? Wouldn’t that be convenient? It is happening somewhat with Facebook, with the whole” login with facebook” when you’re trying to play candy crush.
Social Media anonymity is everywhere, as stated by Marie Atwood, “The Twittersphere is an odd and uncanny place.”How do you know anyone is who he/she says he is, when they put up pictures of themselves that might be a tin of Spam?” She is right. If you search for let’s say Kim Kardashian on Twitter, you’ll find a lot of “Kim Kardashian”s on there, but how do you know? Granted there is the verified check mark but that could be a fluke too.
The internet has come a long way from what this picture depicts but in Kevin Kelly’s article he discovered that many “professionals” agree that “as computing devices become embedded in everything …, these networked devices will allow greater surveillance by governments and businesses.” This is prevalent with the whole Target almost spying on people trying to figure out if they are pregnant or not.
Anonymity in social media is there it is nearly impossible to change but why should we, granted it may bother some when they are online talking to someone they may feel a connection with and find out that the dreamy person they started talking to is really….
Just some computer savvy kid thinking he’s playing a game. And as this kid would probably say, why not go to a place where everybody doesn’t know your name.
Online anonymity can be a wonderfully useful and positive tool. The internet practically strips us of our identity, allowing us to become anyone we want to become, and say anything we want to say. However as we all know, the power that being faceless gives can be overwhelming to some, leading them to abuse it. Like most web 2.0 topics, anonymity on the web has its share of pros and cons.
Free speech is our constitutional right as Americans, but we all know that others can judge us harshly for the things we say. Online anonymity gives web users the possibility to build upon our right to free speech, adding facelessness. This gives us the freedom to say whatever we want without the fear of being judged or directly criticized by others. It’s truly a wonderful feeling to be able to speak your mind and write about the things you want to write about without the fear of being judged.
People can use their online anonymity in an extremely positive way. Some use it to write about an opinion they have, with their facelessness giving no evidence of a bias on their part. Many people use anonymity as a way to compliment or make each other feel good, facelessly in order to avoid any awkwardness that may come from someone knowing who they are.
However these positive actions are usually the result of the negative uses of anonymity. People can use their anonymity to facelessly harass and torment others, much like the case we read about by Julian Dibbell involving LambdaMOO. Negative anonymous comments are very common on popular blogging sites such as Tumblr, and can lead to a variety of dilemmas such as self harm and sometimes even suicide.
Since the internet makes us all virtually faceless, how do we know how authentic anyone is being on the internet? I could create a Facebook account right now claiming to be a Brazilian male model, and people would never know I’m just a random college student. Like Shirley Turkle says, on the internet we’re “constructing new selves through social interaction”. How do we know someone is who they say they are? That’s up to your own judgment.