Exercise 4.1 – False or Alternative Identities

Write an entry in your learning log (up to 500 words) about the creation of false or alternative identities online.


Link 2 – Online Games Unmasked

Characters in Second Life by Robbie Cooper

Bae Kyun – Eun is Persia

Plays a man because she thinks male avatars have more charisma. All the masters in the game are male. Enjoys interaction with others.

Lee Dong Chang is Bi UI

He is shy and has narrow human relationships. His avatar has the same characteristics.

Seang Rak Choi is Uroo Ahs

Poses as a little girl who buys and sells items in the game world. He has amassed a lot of gaming money (Adena).

Yoon Yae is Yahin

He is one of 33 Kings of Lineage. His managerial skills help him maintain control of Aden Castles.

Bill is Shipwreck

He transports gold bullion for the federal reserve. He logs on at Wi-Fi enabled truck stops and travels across virtual galaxies. He makes a lot of money.

Chris is Blakkphire

He plays city of heroes which is where he met his last girlfriend. He tries to make his character much like himself.

Mark is Marcos Fanzorelli

He manufactures and sells robot avatars to make an income of $200 per month (clothes for female avatars would make much more money).

Lee Eun – Sol is freelancer

He is an expert at magic. He doesn’t distinguish between reality and illusion.

T is War Catalyst

The game helped him move away from crime.

Matt is Mattokun

Uses the game to learn Japanese. He writes in Romaji and gets responses in Japanese text.

500 Words

Much has been said recently in the media about false information transmitted digitally via the social media sites in particular. This brings into question who is portrayed as false (Digital Identity) and who is real and whether it is possible to tell the difference.

Research on the course material and references via the course links show detail about the players of the computer game “Second Life” which started on the internet in 2003.

Players created avatars of themselves as they would like to be within the digital world and these avatars developed into more and more complex beings with a specific identity. They then visited other avatars and started to interact.

This was all very clean and above board and generally with no devious intent:

  • Mark Manufactures and sells robot avatars.
  • Chris plays “city of heroes”
  • Lee is an expert in magic and cannot decipher the difference between fiction and reality.

That was fourteen years ago and one of the current problems with a university degree information pack is that information is not static as it used to be.

So today things are different:

  • Donald Trump talks about misinformation and corruption within the press.
  • Theresa may employs advisers who appear to be working against the desires of key cabinet members.
  • There was Watergate and now there is “Russiagate”

So how do we know who to trust? Have our photographs been manipulated? Is the metadata inaccurate? Does the Queen tell the truth? Why don’t Sinn Fein attend the House of Commons?

There have always been warnings about Wikipedia, particularly from within academic establishments. But now that it is policed better than it was, it is probably a much more reliable source than many other sources of information.

For instance Wikipedia’s comment on the concerns related to online identity appear to me to be very sound (as follows):

“Primarily, concerns regarding virtual identity revolve around the areas of misrepresentation and the contrasting effects of on and offline existence. Sexuality and sexual behavior online provide some of the most controversial debate with many concerned about the predatory nature of some users.”

It is becoming apparent in 2017 that the connection between many (if not all) online and offline lives blur reality of experience with fiction. Back to the avatars created for “second life”. These were originally clearly defined but as time moved on the individual often found it difficult to separate out reality.

The development of virtual sex, for instance can drastically unsettle the division between mind, body and self (McRae). It is unlikely that this would have a positive effect.

However, the differences between Personal Identity and Digital Identity are not all for negative effect.

The freedom which social media has given to individuals who find it difficult to communicate face-to-face (for example autistic, blind, deaf, physically deformed or simply shy) has empowered them by allowing them to contribute what they have and previously found difficult to contribute, and has allowed them to grow at a much faster rate emotionally and with confidence.

Development of false identities will continue to grow (probably exponentially).


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