Afternoon, pull up a chair.
Today I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind, several of my minds.
Identity. Online Identity specifically. What is yours? Who am I? Why are we talking when we have little in common.
How far away from the “real” you is your online identity…. I’ll let you think about that while you watch this skit from YouTube.
God I love Monty Python. Classic Insanity. And a good point about identity. Who are we all underneath the sheen of civilization? If you were to remove all that is Civilized about a man, who is left? Will it be the thinker or the Brute?
Here’s another appropriate video…
Yep, and with the advent of the internet, we’re so far beyond that stage that I really don’t know where to begin in explaining what I’m trying to talk about.
Used to be that you could log into a BBS (Text based Bulletin Board System) heck I even ran one for a while called L-Space… and once you’d created an account of who you wanted to be, that person was who you were, period. Without video-blogging, mass-dissemination of video and pictorial information you were able to be this alternate person (or maybe be yourself, depends on how you were wired). Now, with Facebook, Photoshop, and VR Sessions that are approaching a level of reality that makes dreaming look redundant, who’s to say if the person you “meet” in an online or non-face to physical face situation is in fact the person they represent themselves to be.
Now, don’t get me wrong, most people are basically honest, most are just fine…
But some aren’t.
I’ll use me for an example. I’m a fairly average guy, six foot, brown hair, blue eyes, and about fifty pounds overweight (more or less, I think) with 2.5 kids and a wife, who also works full time…
But online I could be a (ok this is a stretch, but for the sake of the example I’ll use it) I could be a five foot three dirty blond from the Ukraine, who’s just escaped from an abusive husband who’s caused two of the last three miscarriages that I’d had. And with enough consistency and some minor facts (it’d help if I could use Photoshop, but I can’t, I really really can’t), I could have somebody believing that this six foot average Caucasian male was in fact a vulnerable somewhat diminutive member of the opposite sex… (granted, this was an extreme example, guy’s don’t make good women, menatally, usually)
*as an aside there’s lots of recent discussion about just this topic over at Mad Genius Club, start at the linked post, and then go back through Sarah Hoyt’s post HERE and Rowena’s post about females as leads just before that. It’s been an interesting week reading over there.* Back to topic.
So, do you see what I mean? Take away the requirement to be who you are supposed to be in this world (me, I was brainy smart so I was supposed to be a doctor or a lawyer, Yech!), even now I’m an accountant with leanings towards charting the stars and sailing the world, or maybe just writing about it… either way…
Once you’ve removed that requirement to be who you appear to be, who you’re supposed to be, then who are you really? Are you the same as that perpetual character you create for any and all games requiring a character build? Are you who you think you are, are you who other’s think you are, or are you somebody else entirely?
I’ll leave it there, I’ve got work to do, and another post to put together for the night. Let me know in the comments, what is your identity and how close to it do you live?