Days of Change

The FakerNet | June 10, 2015

I’ve been online in one way or another for over two decades. When I was in college, college-based computer accounts and ftp sites were the main route for communication, so I chatted using my real name. In the 90’s, I also set up addresses using aliases and nicknames. Anonymity ends up being a pretty important thing. Sometimes you can be persecuted for what you say because of what you believe. The internet is full of people who are more powerful and anonymous than you are. If they go after you, the limited information you have online can be your only defense.

For the last few years, around the time the company became public, Facebook has been interested in creating a community where everyone’s online identity is connected to their real life identity. This isn’t surprising. Facebook started as a sort of college yearbook on the internet. Facebook has become a major resource of people looking up old classmates, friends, children and the terrified people being stalked before they went into hiding.

For people under the age of 30 or so, online presence of social interaction was done through media that contained their name instead of their handle. Minor celebrities started interacting with their fans on personal sites, then MySpace, then Facebook. Now major celebrities are on Twitter and Instagram as well. Still, Facebook is the leader in trying to tie everyone’s social media experiences together. Facebook is now used to log into many other accounts. If you’re not “on Facebook” (which sounds almost like being on a drug) like me, you can’t see much on anyone’s Facebook page. It is the biggest private club in the world.

No one may be entirely anonymous on the internet, but there is a lot of difficulty finding every person you want exposed. I’m not a left wing celebrity or politician. I don’t always say the right PC thing. I know the chilling affect my real identity would have on my expression. It’s not about the “public square” either. In the old days, you could say something and not have a camera phone video of it show up a decade later. If I can’t always control my image, I still want to control my handle.


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1 Comment

  1. If you’re not “on Facebook” (which sounds almost like being on a drug) like me

    No social media for me. My life is no one’s business. People who want me to see their photos, e.g., simply cannot fathom how I can live without Facebook. Simple: the same way I can live without their photos.
    My guess is he main reason Facebook wants people’s real names is to sell them stuff, an/or Facebook is a paid gov’t spy.

    Comment by Mary — June 11, 2015 @ 12:33 am

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