• Tag Archives Digital Identity
  • “Everyone on the Internet is a Serial Killer” -Parents and Society



    As social media usage thrives, people have developed this notion that those we can not physically interact with are dangerous and are out to get us. This paranoia is a result of the horror stories we are shown on the news about minors that were kidnapped/murdered after meeting up with 40 year old men pretending to be teenagers online. Because of stories like these, society has this idea that talking to people you don’t know on the web and actually becoming friends with them is just asking to be hurt. What the media fails to highlight is that among the senior citizen pedophiles there are normal people just like you and I; it’s just easier for them to hide their identities. To assume every individual communicating online is a threat would be similar to thinking every Middle Eastern person is a member of the Al Qaeda (yeah, I just went there.) Since social networking is such a new thing and we haven’t completely grasped the concept yet, we’re scared to venture into a world beyond what is physical.

    In class last week, I brought my best boyfriend, John who was visiting from San Antonio,TX.  I met John on Tumblr about 9 months ago. I found it funny that in one of my classes, I told my friend that I met him online and she said something along the lines of “Wow, he doesn’t look like one of those internet dwellers. He looks normal!” ….um…he IS a normal guy just like you are when you’re surfing online. At first I only knew him as one of my followers who commented on the things I posted. I liked the arguments he made on my posts, so I messaged him to add me on skype to chat. I was always cautious about who I chose to give my skype to (since some of the followers could be a bit… inhuman.) Even as a precaution I only gave him the skype that was of my persona and not of my irl self (only text chat). Within a month, we were already best buds after we were certain that neither of us gave off a stalker vibe. A few months later, we felt comfortable enough to tell each other who we really were. Gotta say, it’d been the best 9 months of my life, and I hadn’t even physically met him until now.

    Success stories like these happen every day online, but they’re not spotlighted as much as the predator stories. Of course there is still a reason to keep your guard up when you’re joining that MMORPG server because it is COMPLETELY true that not everyone online is who they seem to be. One just has to slowly test out the waters before they go diving in. Once they discover that the person is harmless and they DO dive in, they may end up with one of the best things that’s ever happened to them, not only a new internet friend, but a person who has enough similar interests to theirs to be compatible. This 167,779 note Tumblr post takes the words right out of my mouth (minus the vulgarity.)


    (**NOTE: A huge drawback in situations like these is that  having such great friends online may end up making you shy away from the individuals you see irl. So yeah, don’t forget to leave your room every so often so you don’t look like Golum when you finally emerge.)

  • Digital Identity Beyond the “Like” Button: The Impact of Mere Virtual Presence on Brand Evaluations and Purchase Intentions in Social Media Settings

    Decades ago, the only ones who knew the identities of those supporting specific business brands were the actual business itself; it wasn’t public knowledge. The only leads that the general public had on who bought the products and what audience the products were aimed toward were only based on what was seen in the company’s advertisements (billboards, commercials, magazines, ect.) Now with the arrival of  social media and the ability for consumers to publicly label themselves as supporters, companies have started using this publicity to their advantage.  In 2011, it was discovered that 83% of the Fortune 500 companies used social media to connect to the public. This means that now one is much more likely to stumble on an advertisement when surfing the web than they were 10 years ago. For example, Facebook may display a consumer’s name and face on a company’s fan page after it is “liked”. Not only can the individual’s contacts see this affiliation, but since the fan page is public, the world can see it. Also, a company may prompt their online followers to take photos of themselves enjoying the product, to share either on their personal Facebooks or on a company-run social network. As predicted, this has caused an incredible boost in product sales.

    I brought this article to the table to show another one of the internet’s many uses. It can not only be a social tool, but it can also bring about successful commerce. We’re making businesses millions just by doing what we do every day, being social online.


    Naylor, Rebecca, Cait Lamberton, and Patricia West. “Beyond the “Like” Button: The Impact of Mere Virtual Presence on Brand Evaluations and Purchase Intentions in Social Media Settings.” (2012): n. page. Web. 25 Jan. 2014. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umw.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a183d8ac-b735-4290-be6a-89744ddd335b@sessionmgr110&vid=7&hid=113>.


    Now that people are starting to interact with each other via social media networks, it has become an issue where individuals’ personal lives intersect with their professional lives. Behaviors away from the business world are able to be viewed by coworkers, supervisors, potential employers, or anyone of professional nature. Because of the easy access to this information, it has become a challenge for people to maintain multiple identities in a way that it won’t harm their sense of respectability in the workplace.

    What we have yet to figure out is that there is no invisible boundary between our personal identity and our professional identity because we’re basically putting all of ourselves out there for everyone to see on these sites. Instead, we create this delusion of a “mental fence” which we use to separate and organize our environment, or the “physical, temporal, emotional, cognitive,and/or relational limits that define entities as separate from one another” (Ashforth et al., 2000: 474). In order to lessen the burden of this mental separation, some will try to minimize the boundary by combining the aspects of both the personal and professional world through social interaction. (ex. going out drinking with a coworker)

    When one is interacting with their family and friends on social media sites, they may completely disregard how they’re being seen by executives or other people they work with. Sites like Facebook that are intentionally structured to feel like a personal medium make us feel as though we’re among friends when in reality a majority of them are just contacts that don’t directly interact with us and read our updates like the newspaper. When we post our statuses and pictures, in our minds we’re only showing the people that we connect with regularly (our “visible audience”), and we don’t take into account those from different social groups where the information posted may seem inappropriate since they’re not as familiar with the individual (the “invisible audience”).

    Social media connects us to everyone;  those we know and those we don’t whether intentional or not. Even if our pages are set to maximum privacy, there will still be those individuals who can see or hear about our content through the people we are connected with. Nowhere online is totally safe since everything is capable of being seen. Some of us learn this the hard way when we walk into work the next day and coworkers are laughing at our drunken birthday-suit photos from the night before.



  • Digital Identity: “Facebook Privacy Concerns Prompt ‘Virtual Identity Suicides'”

    Many people have thought about the information they share online and how those things can have consequences when they leave the keyboard.  people come out and post things like what they do, where they are, and how they feel, just writing in a diary. But unlike a private diary, their lives become an open book for different companies who keep track of what they buy and what their interests are. This privacy breech has convinced some people to post less online and even perform what is known as “virtual identity suicide” where they completely abandon their accounts in an attempt to reveal less about themselves. A survey conducted by psychologists at the University of Vienna determined the thoughts of 300 people who still used their Facebook accounts and 300 of those who deleted them. The group who disregarded their Facebooks claimed to do so because of concerns over privacy and online addiction. Some of this paranoia has stemmed from recent privacy breaches like the NSA surveillance scandal and stories from Wikileaks.

    Although I still use my Facebook regularly, I am still one of those people who is cautious about what I post online. A lot of people are unaware that important figures like future employers are checking Facebook pages to snoop out information about who they’re hiring. I feel like if the younger internet surfers were made aware of these repercussions from the start, they would be more vigilant about what they posted.

    This article was based off of a research study conducted by Stefan Stieger, PhD, Christoph Burger, MSc, Manuel Bohn, and Martin Voracek, PhD. So I’m pretty certain that it’s got some good credit behind it.

    Ellyat, Holly. “Facebook Privacy Concerns Prompt ‘Virtual Identity Suicides’.” CNBC. (2013): n. page. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/20/facebook-privacy-concerns-prompt-virtual-identity-suicides.html>.