tHE r H i z z o n E

putting ourselves online
Written by discipline - 19 October 2011

Tags : anonymous

when the internet first arrived it was hailed as a revolution by all sectors of progressive communities for becoming something you could lose yourself in. I myself posed as any number of things online before the age of 12, and given the average level of articulation in your average AOL user in 1996 people probably bought it. I was even impressed how I could escape the harsh dictates of reality, of my present situation, and project myself into any different number of worlds where my limitations would be lessened and I would have access to more than a teenage girl would otherwise.

before you could be some nameless experience, you could be whatever you wanted, and as a result no one took your identity too seriously. you could be whatever. a person presenting as male online could be female, a person presenting as straight online could be gay, so everyone kept an open mind. perhaps some started to experience a breakdown in these concepts generally, maybe even irl. after all, that desi clerk could actually be a beautiful blonde australian online, or whatever, so who cares? the avatar was something that gave you the chance to choose an apparition of yourself, and you could change it whenever...

of course all this came crashing down sometime in the last 6 or 8 years, when all of the sudden we were suddenly supposed to be putting ourselves online. the anarchy of identity had to be corralled somehow and exposed to the market. would you ever put a sign out your front door with an attractive headshot and listing your favorite games and music? let your friends come by and write things? let strangers look on your life and own a piece of it? imagine, you go up to a stranger on the street and start to discuss the most personal parts of your sexuality and experiences with them... of course, this is quaint and a little perverted - yet totally acceptable! - within an anonymous framework, when we can never really be sure if the other is telling us the truth (and they always are in a way) and so we chalk it up to the strangeness of the medium. but is the medium changing us now?

people criticized the "walled garden" of AOL, but what about now? hasn't the market created the same "walled garden" around hubs like facebook, gmail, etc? as for our identities, are they any less constructed - only now by others? the only issue with that is when the faces begin to meld with the names, when we begin to think that our identity is truly that which is subjected to the market. for a while we had "open source" identities and so everything was elevated to the realm of ideas. of course we had our own subjective experiences tied to real factors irl that influenced our thinking, but we were not going to be reduced to this online. nowadays, though, we are forced at gunpoint to produce those unchanging qualifiers - race, gender, age, sexual orientation, nationality - so that we may be easily and quickly streamlined into the marketplace of discourse. as we became more and more comfortable putting photos of ourselves out for public view against the advice of our mothers, we lost that freedom in the possibility to be anything... we turned the corner and found ourselves face-to-face with our own grinning headshot, personalities again reduced to a few blurbs and favorite quotes, our gender, age, race, and nationality.

a poster described me as having the possibility to be "anything" and I miss that.. I miss being able to be anything, not being dragged down by this sack of aging meat and bones... I try and aspire to have that fluidity and adaptability. as my worlds collide and become smaller and smaller, as I marry online identities to my irl one, I become more and more terrified of the world closing in on me. the fragile freedom of a childhood spent flirting in AOL chat rooms far from the eyes of white cissexual male patriarchy is being torn from my children and grandchildren's futures... what is to be done?

#1


lungfish
moot (of 4chan) has been pretty outspoken in defense of the anonymous Internet and criticizing the notion that everything should be done under our real identity.

A very recent example: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/4chans_chris_poole_facebook_google_are_doing_it_wr.php

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#2


discipline
they've turned the internet not into a marketplace of ideas, but a marketplace of identity, meaning... you are now a commodity online

like for instance: I don't know you lungfish. you are a real person and you are just putting a piece of yourself on public display. just because you say something weird here I'm not going to think you are an "awful person irl". people have been using anonymous methods of communication to be as scatological and pornographic for like a thousand years or more... the problem is when you start to conflate that medium with your own identity or view "others" as real people. perhaps this is why "trolling" is invaluable to a healthy (whatever that means) online community... it reminds us we are not who we or others think we are and that some are still giving us the benefit of anonymity, clearly not seeing us as human.

I had this person I'd barely talked to online tell me they considered me a "friend" and I thought how depressing and offensive. depressing in that they latch onto people so quickly with nearly no effort and find it sufficient for companionship or at least an institution they could conflate with "irl friends" and offensive that they could somehow think they could wrap their head around me enough through such limited means ... I am not reducible to an aim window!!

anyway I respect the "institution" or "construct" of lungfish. I've known lungfish for years, longer than many of my irl friends. of course lungfish has never cried on my shoulder or shared a meal with me, but that construct is still an irreplaceable part of my online landscape and I respect it/him for existing and expressing it/himself. I respect your autonomy as a semianonymous troll lungfish! I'm glad you are still around + posting and not swallowed up into the shallow world of the facebook identity ball-and-chain...

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#3


discipline
also I think the "gay girl in damascus" thing should factor into this somehow... like of course that dude was a liar but it's the internet!! why are you believing anything someone says on the internet!!!!

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#4


germanjoey
i always believe everything i hear on the internet, as well as everything that i say.

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#5


germanjoey
what do you think of things like Open ID and Gravatar? both of these came pre-packaged with the base forum software that I hacked on (djangoBB), and so as a result they're here in our forum too. Gravatar I don't mind as much, and I actually really like that people who haven't uploaded an avatar still have some kind of semi-unique image to help other people differentiate who they are in a large thread. (a feature that can still be turned off if no avatar is really what a person prefers, but its a nice default)

Open ID on the other hand makes me wary... on one hand, I think its OK as an alternative form of login, like how its set up here, but on the other, and especially combined *with* gravatar, you end up seeing ten million avatars that look like this all over the web - every blog, news site, tech forum, etc:





just UGH. i get the impression that its a way introduce social conformity on the web. to make the place feel like a japanese subway car or something. i mean, sure, no one is *stopping* you from talking loudly and saying all kinds of crazy shit, but you wouldn't really do such a thing while everybody's staring at your shining face, would you?

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#6


germanjoey

lungfish posted:
moot (of 4chan) has been pretty outspoken in defense of the anonymous Internet and criticizing the notion that everything should be done under our real identity.

A very recent example: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/4chans_chris_poole_facebook_google_are_doing_it_wr.php



GONNA +1 THIS ARTICLE RIGHT HERE

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#7


Fucker
theres nothing to talk about wrt internet anonymity. internet regulates itself well enough. morons go on facebook, cool handsome geniouses like me go on anonymous internet forums to post alongside depressed virgins, ironic hentai lovers and troons.

the worst thing that can happen is every mainstream website does the spotify thing and start requiring everybody to login with their facebook accounts. but even that's kindof a moot point since fringe sites arent gonna get on that bandwagon for obvious reasons. aint no yaoi fan forums gonna integrate to facebook anytime soon so im not too worried.

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#8


discipline
ah but you know I think there is something riotously hilarious about trying to have it both ways... like what you were saying, joey, and you too f***er.. anyone friends with babyfinland on facebook knows that him having his picture (or even mine!!!) next to his words does not necessarily stop him from crawling all over newbs, though maybe tones down the abusive swearing a bit! likewise people should consider whether or not the internet can ever truly be integrated into our "normal" social landscape. either way it is disaster. you suddenly have people acting like angry trolls irl or cease to socialize outside of your yaoi forum... anyway, just because it's fairly normal to have "women on the internet" nowadays doesn't mean women are treated with the same respect they are in other public places... nor does it mean that men posing as women (or visa versa) will cease either! better to put all your chips in and subject yourself to a complete pomo makeover at the hands of zukerburg and wddp (wherein sometimes people's "friends" they have never met outnumber or stand out more than their irl friends on their fb walls!) with all of the suffering that entails or else stand completely a world apart and remind people you could be anybody or even any number of people in the same construct. but you can never be both or halfway or lukewarm! that way suffering lies. we all have a bit of babyfinland in us I suppose, and a bit of lungfish too probably, especially when we need a nap... why not cling to the exciting rhizomatic possibilities of anonymity, dabbling occasionally in hilarious meetups? keep your identity off the market, scrubbbs!

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#9


animedad
this forum feels like more of a chat between friends. which certainly isnt a bad thing but it'd be cool if we could have our main identity and then a bunch of splinters to troll with

Online

#10


Fucker
if your fb freinds with ppl from sa offsites, its about time to kill yourself

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#11


noavbazzer

Fucker posted:
if your fb freinds with ppl from sa offsites, its about time to kill yourself




They're already dead bro

-posted from my iPhone 7

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#12


deadken
one time i heard a dude call out 'ken' and i turned around. my irl name is not ken. what is a man? a miserable little conglomeration of contradictory identities

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#13


discipline
babyfinland was at a party once and some drunk guy heard he was there and got all upset and like "wherezat guy I'm gunna kick his punk ass!!!!"

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#14


deadken

animedad posted:
this forum feels like more of a chat between friends. which certainly isnt a bad thing but it'd be cool if we could have our main identity and then a bunch of splinters to troll with



ya 4realz. lets take this shit 2 da next level! smash the false unity of the self!

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#15


deadken
parties are haraam

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#16


discipline

animedad posted:
this forum feels like more of a chat between friends. which certainly isnt a bad thing but it'd be cool if we could have our main identity and then a bunch of splinters to troll with



why don't you run that platform in the new !!!!!MOD ELECTION!!!!!

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#17


NounsareVerbs
It is definitely accelerating (heh) conformity especially in the interaction with the workplace. On accounts that are tied with my actual irl identity I worry often about posting my thoughts and ideas - even to close friends.

In the private sector of a right-to-work state your health, shelter, and nutrition are threatened directly if your online identity is recorded as saying something that might reflect badly on your company's philosophy (heh).

In the public sector you are in just as much shit, because instead of being bound to a private philosophy you are bound to the state's "fascist neutrality." If any action or speech you take is documented and reflects badly on the philosophy of whatever institution you work with, again your family's well-being is in direct jeopardy. This is especially scary in lower education where I work. I fear for my prospects of work and prosperity every day because of my academic background and private political stances - regardless of the fact that I have the best credentials of anyone my age.

Oh so I see here that you posted a picture of a cop bloodying an elderly protester on your Facebook page - guess you can't work for the school because then we wouldn't be politically neutral and your radical ways would jeopardize our system's mission of a fair education for all students.

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#18


Skylark
i like 4chanman's point that "we present ourselves differently in different contexts, and that's key to our creativity and self-expression", and i think google plus is trying to address that with their circles thing

but what scares me is that facebook (and i guess now google plus), in order to not disappear like myspace when a newer thing pops up, try to establish illusions of being permanent and important in people's online and offline lives. it seems like most people i know have bought into this with facebook

i deleted my facebook a few months ago when i was getting anonymous messages on tumblr that were pictures of me from my facebook photoshopped onto different stuff. it obviously makes sense as a business model to establish your website as the "center" of the internet in your customer's heads but it has such creepy and unnatural consequences

that said, i may have to make a fake facebook soon with some made up name because now an increasing number of websites and even real-life events require you to click stuff on facebook to be a part of them at all

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#19


germanjoey

Skylark posted:
i like 4chanman's point that "we present ourselves differently in different contexts, and that's key to our creativity and self-expression", and i think google plus is trying to address that with their circles thing

but what scares me is that facebook (and i guess now google plus), in order to not disappear like myspace when a newer thing pops up, try to establish illusions of being permanent and important in people's online and offline lives. it seems like most people i know have bought into this with facebook



you know, this is really insightful. this has gotta be the real reason why they're pushin for this sort of thing.

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#20


discipline

Skylark posted:
that said, i may have to make a fake facebook soon with some made up name because now an increasing number of websites and even real-life events require you to click stuff on facebook to be a part of them at all



soon they will not let you do this... your face will have been indexed and attached to your name downloadable from skynet facebook servers....

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