Class 7 main focus was online identity, how we perceive ourselves on the internet and how it may affect our professional life. The main thing to remember about the online world is that everything is stored so unlike one-on-one face to face conversations that reside in our memories once concluded, digital communications have an almost eternal life.¹ Over the weekend there was an incident that showed just that. One contestant, Jack Maynard on I’m a Celebrity was forced to leave the show due to tweets that were racist and homophobic that he posted five years ago.² Digital identity can affect the real professional life of people. So, should we be more careful in how we perceive ourselves on the internet? Most definitely, nowadays it is also a very common for employers to go through potential employee’s social profiles to see what their personalities are and the connections they have.
One of the readings that we were assigned to read was an article about Amina, a gay woman living in Middle East who blogged about being homosexual in the Middle East, and ended up being kidnapped. It did turn out that it was a ‘social experiment’ by a 40-year-old American man who lived in Scotland.³ This classic example of catfishing because there is nothing else it could be called made me think about how catfishing is popularised in today’s show business, two prime examples that come to my mind are Gossip Girl and the MTV TV show Catfish.
Gossip Girl’s plot is based around an anonymous individual who exposes the secrets of the elite teenagers in New York. Gossip Girl turns out to be m=one of the main characters, Dan Humphrey, an outsider who wanted to write himself into the story of those elite teenagers. This is a classic example of someone who took on an anonymous digital identity to on purposely harm other people just so that he could write himself into the story so that the girl that he is attracted to would notice him. Why would we popularise such behaviour? Why make it into a romantic tale as if that’s making it appropriate? Catfishing is a cruel act of stealing someones identity and using it to impose that you ar that person just to hide our true identity for all different reasons. This can be seen the best in the MTV TV show Catfish which deals with people who have been catfished by people to such extends that they even fell in love with the identity of the digital person.
Digital identity is something that all of us up to this point have taken for granted, “it was just a bitta’ banter” is what people reply hen asked about their old posts, comments or even photos. However, that ‘bitta banter’ can cost us our reputation or even the dream job in the future. I now am very weary of what I post on the internet and how it may come across, are you?
¹Digital Identity Development is a Process [accessed 28 November 2017]
²Jack Maynard leaves I’m a Celebrity [accessed 28 November 2017]
³Syrian lesbian blogger is revealed conclusively to be a married man [accessed 28 November 2017]