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Interaction, hold the communication

So in order to do anything but my work in the past few days, I've been playing a bit of Yahoo Go. Now Go is a great old board game that I am pretty bad at, and it seems to me that much of the fun of Go, or really any other old game that has been made into a computer app, depends on being able to see your opponent, and you know being able to interact with them. This doesn't happen with the online version. Sure there's a chat option, but nobody uses it as far as I can tell. It seems like people prefer their opponents disembodied.

In native computer games, there has been a move for years to increase interaction. In the old days of online gaming, things were pretty much impersonal in a "see opponent, shoot opponent" way, but that gave way to team-based games, in more recent years voice-capability, and intensely social "world" games such as WOW. In other words, there's been an attempt to bring the people behind the avatars into the game.

lying, online identities

As marmalade brings up in her post, the issue of identity is everywhere, whether it's online or not. A number of presentations today, especially tophat1's bit about avatars, reminded me of how easy it is to lie about oneself online.

Here's an example: a friend of a friend likes to play chess. I've heard my friend tell me some very strange stories about this friend of his. Apparently his friend--I'll call him "James"--likes to play chess online, and he pretends to be somebody else when he plays. James says if he has a boring screenname like "James188" or something like that, then he won't get a lot of people requesting to play with him. So instead he makes up screen names like "cutiepiegirl" or "omglolGirlfriend" or something else utterly ridiculous so that people will play with him. James assumes that most of these chess players in these forums are males, and he thinks that changing his screen name to something that ridiculous will entice players. And it actually works a lot of the times.

life in blog

I have been blogging for a pretty long time--more than six and a half years, or close to a third of my life.

Creepy? A little bit.

It also means that some very weird things have happened on/around my blog, and I am going to share one particularly weird experience here, because I am thinking of mining some of it for my final project. (It's one of those things that's so surreal that it seems a shame not to use it toward some more-or-less productive end--) This anecdote is at least among the top five weirdest things that have happened to me on the internet.

It's all about appearances

Something that's been very weird to me--okay, whoa, magpie, just noticed the arched window watermark on the update page. By moving the screen back & forth, it either gets brighter than or darker than the rest of the screen. Watermarks on media that would scream, shrivel, and die if actually in contact with water amuse me. And it disappears if I get just the right angle...

Anyways, I'm used to lj, which, even if you're posting to a community and thus don't get to design the details of the journal yourself (The fact that this is not my personal aesthetic is making it somewhat uncomfortable to post here, it somehow doesn't feel like I can entirely post my thoughts, even though the clean, functional format of the class blog works very well with the sort of writing one is meant to put here), most everyone has a user icon (or several). The lack of having some sort of visual aid to help me associate who's writing what is making it really hard for me to keep track of who's who. Not just what username goes with what flesh-and-blood, I've mostly given up on that. But who's writing which entries. I suppose I really should just start reading each individual person's blog, so I have an idea of who's said what, where people stand and develop more of a sense of personality through writing style.

Class Credit and Blog Identity

I've blogged a little in the past, and I'm finding it a very different experience to blog for class. I think my sense of disorientation comes from three things:

1. This class blog has a very set readership. There is always the possibility that a random person will stumble on our blog, but in all liklihood, people from our class are the only ones who will read a given post. Similarly, people in our class can't just stop reading the blog if they get bored. The set audience makes me far more self-concious about what I say.

2. Everyone who reads this blog has at least some knowledge of me in real life. As a result, it isn't possible for this blog to become my identity to the blog's readership. Readers will certainly filter my posts through what they know of me in real life, and something I post on this blog may influence the way people perceive me or my comments in class.