Identity and the internet

Okay so identity and the internet? This week’s topic. Little bit of a difficult discussion, I mean is there any such thing as identity when it comes to the internet, for example the identity that drives us in getting mortgages, or credit checks….credit ratings, our love life….our tax life. The Internet is there for another platform of fantasy, or, at least, it can be. So is that identity or just fantasy in a identity form? Starting up on the reading this week, the example of Sherry Turkles, it was interesting as the introduction falls into the examples of Sherry Turkles

  • Sherry Turkles is French who studied post structuralism in Paris in the 1960s
  • Turkles is a social scientist – trained in anthropology, personality psychology and socialology
  • Dr. Turkle; the clinical psychologist
  • The Writer

Then “there is the cyberspace explorer, the woman who might long on as a man, or as another woman, or as simply ST”.

Through this study and the book ‘Life on the screen: Identity in age of the Internet’, found through the decade of research, the Internet links millions of people, changing the way we talk, act and react to other people “a modernist culture of calculation toward a postmodernist culture of simulation.” With the book going on to suggest that our life on screen allows us to be everything; be that the writer, producer, director and/or star of our own show.  In a sense, what the book suggests is that it gives us control of our own lives, or at least the perception of control.

This observation resonates a lot of explanation behind why certain behavior is deemed appropriate in the viral world and how the escalation of something rapidly evolves from its initial meaning and purpose to something completely different. The Internets version of Chinese whispers, I guess.  But it isn’t just how something can be taken in a different meaning by the receiver, the rapidity of discussion, romance, arguments/debates and ‘deep meaningful conversations’ is so quick it can both help and ruin relationships in the real world. The protection of the computer screen seems to mask its user into a comfort zone that anything is possible because they do not have to face the consequences themselves; only their online self does.

And so this leads me onto, one problem that the theme of identity and the internet has; Catfishing. This is a huge example of how the identity of the user can be made to place someone into a false sense of security.

Although, the dictionary’s version of Wikipedia, Urban dictionary has a good definition of this word (Oxford dictionary has not yet added it in……why? I’ve no idea, they have the word ‘selfie’ in there). So UB definition: A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using facebook or other social forums to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.

This area, sparked up some curiosity from me so I looked into it a bit further and found this

I found myself intrigued in the notion that you could be a completely different person, even gender, once you are on your computer. So, I did some of my own research and tapped into a chatroom and casted myself off as a guy of 22 called Tom.

Screen Shot 2013-11-09 at 14.23.45Screen Shot 2013-11-09 at 14.20.05

The chat room I choose was dating/romance and after watching it for sometime, I felt uncomfortable passing off as a person that wasn’t me…30 seconds into the conversation, the user ‘Seri’ was leading it all. This was one of her responses… I clicked off after this.

This week links quite strongly with the changes we spoke about last week of Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 with regards to interaction, sharing and worldwide communication. In this weeks reading of ‘Along together’, it introduces itself with the statement “technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities” I for one, couldn’t agree more. It can be both liberating but extremely dangerous and the thought to where it could all lead to is…well, scary.

Week 6 ‘What is Web 2.0?’

This week and the notion that the Internet has not one, but two ‘iterations’, was both interesting and baffling. After the crash in the year 2001, with the popularity of the internet and the copious amount of users it began to adopt through the 90’s (in specific) the internet itself demanded more, as a modern platform for the new generations. When the millennium hit and everyone celebrated as the clock turned midnight, we stepped into a new century full of new possibilities and opportunities, one was the Internet; the web and where it was going. Before, the Internet was finding it’s feet on the unsteady ground of a wired up phone modem connection. Remember this sound?



Web 1.0 was in development, as shown in Tom O’Reilly ‘What is web 2.0?” graph below.

Web 1.0


Web 2.0



Google AdSense









Britannica Online



personal websites




–> and EVDB

domain name speculation


search engine optimization

page views


cost per click

screen scraping


web services




content management systems



directories (taxonomy)


tagging (“folksonomy”)




Hitting into a new century to now as we fall into the backside of 2014, one may notice some have gone further, from the changes Web 1.0 saw.  As Web 2.0 has taken hold with more than 9.5 million citations in google, these developments above, amongst many others were the changes from the new millennium. Web 1.0 was more about the centralized and corporately dominated with retail shops, personal websites and online Tetris , Web 2.0 is seen to be more to do with the inclusivity of its users, the interaction and sharing of content around the world, with Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, youtube, wordpress and online games connecting you around the world.

Web 2.0 has given its audience scope to explore and generate new material and media from themselves, the consumer becomes the creator, which, as we spoke about last week turns into the ‘produser’; interacting with one another, generating new material for the web, changing it, adapting it, adding on and sharing it with the world. One of the biggest changes is the change from personal website in 1.0 to blogging in 2.0, this now has stretched into vlogging, where  youtube is a platform for vloggers to share their daily experiences . A youtube sensation and weekly vlogger is the youtube famous Jenna Marbles, famous through the blogging world.



In Paul Andersons ‘What is Web?’ Looking into where blogging originated, the word was in fact coined in 1997 by John Barger and refers to a webpage consisting of paragraphs of opinion/personal diary entries, links or information arranged chronologically in the style of an online journal for you to share with the world. Contributing to the nature of a blog with Yale Law Professor, Yochai Benkler calling it ‘a weighted conversation’ and with a access to unlimited number of readers, the interactivity of a blog is a prime example of Web 2.0. Here’s the link

This is what arguably Web 2.0 has changed, and developed into, allowing its users something more. Everitt and Mills, however, argue in ‘Cultural Anxiety 2.0’ (2009) that Web 2.0 is merely just a state of marketing, the ‘changes’ led by web 2.0 all fall back on the original purpose of web 1.0 (viral interaction). “Web 1.0 was all about connecting people. It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.”.  The zeitgeist of the web itself, is hugely generated by the material its users share with another…if Web 2.0 is just a extension of Web 1.0 ‘s interaction…where will Web 3.0 take us and a question I am more then keen to explore into is what will it involve?

Week 4: Digital media and society

Since the 90’s where technology was finally finding its footing into ways it could adapt into the future way of living and in 2013 where we are consumers of a vast notion of social networking sites, dating sites, community sites and gaming sites or blogging sites. The adaptation of the way society behaves in social norms and the behavior of the general population when behind a computer screen changes. Through the past decade, with the internet finding new and alternative ways to create a alternate reality for its users, it has subconsciously created a dimensional version of yourself. When behind a computer screen, the screen serves as a protector, a shield of truth from everyone else you are coming into contact with through the viral web, a level of confidence at the fact that potentially no one knows who you are, who you have been, who people think you are. The every day judgement s or effects of reality are washed away and through a avatar on screen and a character bio on your dating profile you can create the person you always dreamed to be.

But as for social change, the dynamics change in accordance to the user. Many users are unsure of the way the network works, consumers of a idea that you are being connected to the world or as Howard Rheingold mentions ‘WELL’ (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) “we are rapidly losing the magic of the human touch”.  Focusing on the ways we now interact with one another, by looking around in  a group, whether you are at a restaurant, bowling alley, chilling in the park and walking along the highstreet 70% of that group will be taking out there phone to look if they have a message or facebook is updated or to update twitter, missing out on life being lived, instead they are living through technology. People now go to concerts, festivals  or abroad and instead of living through their human experience and their eyes, they bring out their phone or Ipad and press the record button.  This level of shared information spread worldwide, creates a increased level of democracy, while researching through I came across this video on youtube

Speaking about the link between government and the public, it interesting to understand why the link between the two is growing stronger. The infinite access to all information to anyone with access to a internet connection is exceptional.

But to have this information is something to do with what is being shared. Internet and social users are the most sociable people in the world, so it is said. The internet is used as another path to social interaction, to know and talk to people, to invite those around, to joke, and laugh, to create group conversations and to like or comment to one another. The complexity of how society has formed and will continue to through digital media is based on the platform the internet has offered its users. It is of the control of the user how many status’s they update, how personal they get through updates or messaging or comments. The future for digital media and society is one that only time can tell, but personally I think it is something which in some ways has helped the way we interact with one another and getting to know people faster on the other hand time could also reveal how far we will take it, not because of how far technology has grown but how human interaction has changed and what we decide to do with it.