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What's My Identity?

My desicions that I have made about my online identity for the most part have been to keep a little private. I hear too much about online identity theft where hackers can get into your system and find out who you are with just a little bit of information. I really never have used my real legal name in the past when having to give my name online. I also don't give out my real birthdate, address, or phone number. I think all this is pretty standard now. It's really hard to trust people on the net and it's a wise move not to give out your personal information. I have also recieved very convincing e-mails in the past from Discover Card and other credit card companies claiming I needed to give them my credit card number, name, ss#, etc. It looked very authentic and when I clicked on the site, it looked very similar to the original Discover Card site, however it was a scam and I never did give out any of my information. I don't really log in to any virtual worlds and I don't have any avatars or anything like that. I just don't have time to log in to a virtual world and play online for hours on end, I find human contact more appealing. I think that some people just find that being in the online world is more appealing. In turkle's book, "Life on the Screen," she says, searching for an easy fix, we are eager to believe that the Internet will provide an effective substitute for face-to-face interaction, (Turkle, 236).

Second Life was really new to me. I didn't know anything about it and I never heard anything from it. When exploring the site I noticed it was moving really slow and I had to double and even triple click things just to get around. I did notice that you could buy virtual property and then sell it and make money off of it? People spend a lot of money to build their own virtual house and then sell it for real money? This to me sounds insane. Actually I think the encyclopedia Brittanica should add this to there definition of insanity. I read in "it's not a game article" that One resident, whose avatar is known as Anshe Chung, has become a celebrity of sorts by claiming to have accumulated a real-world net worth of more than $1 million in Second Life real estate. She now employs 30 people in China who build things and otherwise improve the land she buys and develops for resale. (Kirkpatrick, 3). Wow, that's all I can say to that. I believe online communities does however play apart in developing our identites. When we step through the screen into virtual communities, we reconstruct our identites on the other side of the looking glass, (Turkle, 177). I believe that's why so many people make there avatars into fit, dressed well, 20 somethings, instead of there real selves. Turkle also goes to say, play has always been an important aspect of our individual efforts to build identity, (Turkle, 184). Which is basically stating that when we play online, the way we play is apart of our identity building. I am not too familiar with online virtual games however I'm sure that we can make choices as how to play, either we kill an advisary, or leave them alone, or we can talk to them.

I really enjoyed these readings and really had no idea what Second Life was until well just about 25 minutes ago. It's all really new and interesting to me.

Comments

Hi there! I also agree with you-- you have to be careful with the information you are willing to expose to others. When I was younger, I used a disguised name too and now my friends whom I've met online, still call me that because they're so used to it.

Second Life is also new to me, did you sign up? If so, do you plan to use it as a communication source online?

I agree that there is an issue with identity theft and so concealing yourself with these things might be a good idea, however I feel like most identity theft happens when someone emails you (and you might have a name that has nothing to do with your true identity as well)and you send one back with your personal info on it as well and so it is a good idea to watch out for those cases as well. In other words those confusing names and misleading online identities only work if you stay behind them.