to program or be programmed – identity

In Program or Be Programmed, Douglas Rushkoff says, “Because digital technology is biased toward depersonalization, we must make an effort not to operate anonymously, unless absolutely necessary. We must be ourselves” (p. 89).

Being anonymous online is like speaking with your eyes closed or talking to someone over the phone instead of face to face, easy because no sight of a physical response allows more room for emotion and raw opinion.

This past semester, I went to a communication event where speaker Amy Webb, CEO of WebbMedia, informed the audience about social media and how to use it. She gave an eye-opening speech but one of the many things she said that stuck out to me was that we create identities online for a reason; we want others to be well aware of our existence and make connections with us so we create a Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. With our online identity we get to state our views on topics of interest, allowing others to see what we have to say and comment on it. But why comment anonymously? Why make an identity for yourself online if you are going to be anonymous? If we went through the trouble of making a social identity for ourselves, we shouldn’t hide it. Being anonymous only takes away from our identity (we aren’t giving ourselves the ability to build an online foundation if we are anonymous).

She told the audience to comment through social media sites so that others can be directed to you, so that others can see your presence online.

The whole point of having a web presence is to draw public interaction, isn’t it?

What we want to say shouldn’t be presented in a secretive way. That takes away from its validity. Takes away from its purpose. Easily causes my eyes, and possibly the many eyes of others, to skim over your words and look at what someone else has to say, the someone else who is identified and whose words seem real.

Rushkoff advises readers, “Make being real and identifiable the norm” (p. 88).

Don’t create a different version of yourself online (one that hides behind an obscure username and unidentifiable picture), be the same self you are in person, online. Hold onto your humanity when in the digital media realm and be accountable for all of your actions, even those you make online. We shouldn’t treat real life and digital life as two separate worlds. Life is life, digital media is just a part of the life we are living. Be the same self you are online as you are offline. Just, be yourself.

Do you often comment on sites anonymously? If so, why?

What does ‘be yourself online’ mean to you?



About MegMia
journalism major who brings a little optimism to a world full of pessimism.

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