Stepping outside the walls of this global village, in search of a return to the individual, nomadic cyber surfers of an earlier networked era seems counter intuitive to the branding and marketing of our digital , but with the eruption of online spaces which facilitate anonymity, or the stranger, and an increase in privacy concerns, it appears that more and more users are experiencing an identity crisis –but which one? Chat, once a thriving enclave, is like a living monument to another era, a ghost town overrun not by chatters per se, but by chatbots.
Whole rooms exist with various themes, topics, sub-topics, and subject matter with rarely a living human in sight.
The difference might be that on Second Life the pseudonymous personality itself is highly valuable and requires a lot of work to create. A pseudonym especially represents an earlier Internet, where a chat handle was infused with identity. Anonymity existed then, but not as an identity or personality, but as a disguise to be mistrusted and sometimes feared.
It is with this standard that I chose talking HEAD™ in the 1990s, with the trademark symbol giving me ownership to my handle when in my favorite social space, L. Anonymous was not respected, more reviled and ignored. The most recent form of pseudonym, which is found in one’s actual name as per social networks, is a strange case.
Here lies yet another dynamic conflict of identity.
The online offers the ability to shape one’s identity, separate from the actual day-to-day; an important distinction.
Using auto-response, the bots are subject to well-defined algorithms, rules of sociality and expected reactions, even when no one is there.
Where have all the humans migrated in the wake of this virus? This is the result of a pathetic strategy; if it is only they and the bots, then the sole female is uncontested. Chat, but others like Chat Avenue, whose adult (i.e., sex) room refreshes at such a rapid pace that conversation is made impossible.
It becomes blindingly clear who is real and who is not based on various elements of the both the user’s chat handle as well as their vernacular.Now, one is forced into publicizing all, defining identity by the number of friends, likes, reblogs, and activities (activism) –we must all act as our own PR agents, releasing press releases on our own behalf.This is the result of share-all philosophy, which paradoxically loses the individual in the process.The architecture of a previous period fostered a certain behavior, in the form of pseudonymity, just as the current social web fosters publicity.But the differences can still be seen today, as Lanier explains: Participants in Second Life (a virtual online world) are generally not quite as mean to one another as are people posting comments to Slashdot (a popular technology news site) or engaging in edit wars on Wikipedia, even though all allow pseudonyms. This name soon had a history, it represented me as an individual, and it sometimes said more with one word or phrase about my likes and dislikes than any profile could.