Monday, July 13, 2009

Anonymity and Identity

Foreign Policy: Iran's Terrifying Facebook Police : NPR

"Second, it means, as far as authorities are concerned, our online and offline identities are closely tied and we have to be fully prepared to be quizzed about any online trace that we have left (I can easily see us being asked our Facebook and Twitter handles in immigration forms; one of the forms I regularly fill flying back to the US has recently added a field for email address)."

For this particular blog, I have a created identity. No, it wouldn't be difficult to make the connection between this and my "real" persona if you had any indication of the link previously, but I use an assumed name, and any contact information given here is connected to this faux-identity and not my "true" one. I do this for many reasons, one of them being that my ideal future is one in which thoughts like this might be questioned at the entry-levels and I don't want to find myself in 20 years inextricably linked to what I wrote today.

The mere fact that I have a created identity is because I am afraid of things like this happening. I thought this a few weeks ago when the issue arose with job seekers in Montana, and it's been reinforced here.

For many people, online identities are an escape from their "actual" personas. Even for those whose online image is similar to their offline one, the online can be more revealing than we would generally be with coworkers or police officers.

To what extent are you represented by your online self? Would the image your online self projects interfere with your offline life? Are the borders between the two fading?

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