Anonymity and the creation of an individuals online identity

Introduction[ edit ] As society progresses into the modern digital age it is becoming more and more essential to have an online identity alongside a real life one. For many these identities are representative of their best self, only sharing what they deem appropriate to a closed group; others over-share on personal accounts, occasionally alienating family and friends. Anonymous accounts or online users that choose to hide their personalities either through choice or necessity on the platform. These users can be found on social media description of the effect of anonymity ; on dating apps summary needed ; in online videogames, which allows individuals and groups to create new identities that can be used to explore online virtual worlds and provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to escape from their offline personality; and on anonymous discussion boards, where a mixture of mob mentality and disconnection from self, allow users to create unseen identities and communities that are uncontrollable yet open.

Anonymity and the creation of an individuals online identity

The news site Huffington Post changed its commenting function so that people could only comment through their Facebook identities Kirkland, On the other side of the debate, online activists such as Chris Poole and scholars such as danah boyd and Bernie Hogan have argued for the benefits of pseudonymity and anonymity.

This article begins to fill that gap in the literature through a case study of a specific site of pseudonymous identity practice: The pictures then receive upvotes or downvotes from the Reddit community, and popular pictures also receive comments from other Redditors.

The goal of this article is to do more than to shed light on the identity practices of a single site; instead, our goal is to show the value of a case study approach to online identity that examines how different identity practices are shaped by specific contexts of use.

There is value in discussing identity in broad terms, but there is also value in focusing attention on individual practices of a single site.

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We then discuss anonymity debates that focus on arguments about how online safety and security are impacted by anonymous and pseudonymous practices. Hua Qian and Craig Scott also refer to the anonymity continuum, but argue that it is complex continuum that is shaped by the affordances of communication technology.

Facebook explicitly states in its user policies that people are expected to have one identity Facebook,and use legal names and photographs of their own body in their profile. The site even recently took down profiles of drag queens who were using their stage names instead of their legal names Buhr, Other social media sites encode different identity practices into the structure of the site.

For example, online dating site OkCupid does not allow people to use real names but requires people to post pictures of their face.

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The popular social news site Reddit relies on pseudonymity in which users must create a screen name that follows them across the site. Anonymity and pseudonymity are not neutral states. When anonymous Internet users are the subject of mainstream news articles, it is often in the context of either large-scale political protests, or hacking, trolling, deceiving, or abusing others on the Internet through inflammatory posts.

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But while extreme cases such as these do exist, this article argues that both anonymity and pseudonymity allow people to enact specific, and arguably valuable, identity practices online.

Zuckerberg in Galperin, Plato observed that any man who put on the ring would become a thief because he could not be apprehended for his crimes.

Anonymity and the creation of an individuals online identity

If anyone who had the liberty [of the ring of Gyges] neither wronged nor robbed his neighbour, men would think him a most miserable idiot. Facebook is the largest social network site in the world and by the end of had 1. This, in effect, means that people are tying a diverse set of online practices back to the singular identity crafted on their Facebook page.

After all, most people would act one way on a Friday night out with friends and another way on a Sunday dinner with family. The difference between the offline situations Goffman analysed and the online situations discussed by Zuckerberg and Schmidt is that the presentation of self offline is more territorially bounded.

A woman out with friends has her friends as an audience; her family is a different audience located in a different physical setting.

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In this way, the bounding of social situations works as an identity practice that is not dissimilar to the activity of creating different pseudonymous identities online. Related to the idea that context influences how people present their identity, Louis Althusser argued that identity is culturally constructed by the ongoing process of people being interpellated into social roles: It would be akin to telling someone they should not have sex with their partner if they do not want coworkers to know about it.

That obviously does not work as a view of social life offline, in part because of the boundedness of social contexts. Of course, even offline the contexts of social situations do occasionally collapse.

Context collapse refers to the tendency online for people to have to interact and construct identity in front of their entire social network, not the segments that are typical offline. For example, whereas it is unlikely that a woman would rarely be in a room with different groups of friends, her co-workers, her ex-partners, her new partner, and her immediate and extended family, that situation becomes the norm on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter that merge previously discrete groups.

That kind of context collapse becomes even more pronounced with services like Facebook Connect that carry identity across a variety of very different sites that enable very different practices.

Of course, Zuckerberg and his colleagues represent only one side of the online anonymity debate. Possibly the most public figure who represents the other side is Chris Poole, the founder of the anonymous image board 4chan.

Anonymity and the creation of an individuals online identity

Poole argues that rather than online identity being like a mirror that reflects one true idea of self, people are instead more like diamonds: Most pertinently for this article, Bernie Hogan has used Goffman to explore the benefits of pseudonymity and anonymity in the context of social media.

As he argues, people are interested in exploring different identities in different parts of their social life, similarly to how Poole argues that we are diamonds who look different depending on the angle. But for the separation of those identities to be possible, individual sites must allow for the freedom of pseudonymous identity construction.

Anonymity and security Much of the popular debate about anonymity versus real names focuses on two related areas: Trolling, and the related concept of flaming, has been around at least as long as people have been communicating using the Internet Sternberg, Early Internet sites relied almost solely on textual cues, so there was little attempt to fix identity to corporeal bodies.

Identity and Anonymity

Instead, as Donath and others argued Lessig, ; Turkle,the presentation of self was more fluid online because people were freer to switch identities on a whim and construct a new identity through text.Anonymity and Confidentiality Rose Wiles, Graham Crow, Sue Heath & Vikki beliefs that individuals matter and that individuals have the right for their affairs to be private, although as Bulmer () notes, in our information-led society upholding identifiable information about participants and to try to protect the identity of research.

Online identity paper analyzes the creation of identity, motives that push individuals to create these identities, compares the creation of Creation of online identity Called also like Internet identity or IID, online identity is a concept Anonymity The element of anonymity in .

Anonymity and Learning in Digitally Mediated Communications: Authenticity and Trust in Cyber Education investigates the impact of anonymity and its effects on online identity and learning.

A close examination of the implications of anonymity in cyber education reveals issues of authenticity and trust, which are at the heart of online learning. How Does Anonymity Act as an Identity for Individuals and Groups Online?

[Introduction []. As society progresses into the modern digital age it is becoming more and more essential to have an online identity alongside a real life one. Introduction T HE Internet is a social, cultural, commercial, educational, and entertainment global communications system whose legitimate purpose is to benefit and empower online users by lowering the barriers to the creation and distribution of a variety of content.

Anonymity and Learning in Digitally Mediated Communications: Authenticity and Trust in Cyber Education investigates the impact of anonymity and its effects on online identity and learning. A close examination of the implications of anonymity in cyber education reveals issues of authenticity and trust, which are at the heart of online learning.

On Anonymity, the Internet, and 4chan