Written by anonyblogger (aka Annaleis Bijdeveldt)
“Nothing is true; everything is permitted” – Vladimir Bartol
My online identities
When compiling my photo collage for this blog I asked myself what do all these pics say about me? At first glance what impression am I giving people? A theme was occurring. True to my Sagittarian form, my images contained travel, alcohol, nature, alcohol in nature. Generally I like my photos to have an organic feel about them, I like symmetry, colour, beauty and sometimes being a bit silly.
“Your Digital Identity as perceived by other people is made up of material that you post yourself… but it also is made up of material other people put there about you”. (Williams et al. 2010)
I was quick to join the new wave of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest, YouTube and MySpace which I really loved because your profile was customisable; through music, background imagery and text colours.
Created by Annaleis Bijdeveldt on CANVA, 7 April 2017.
The way I use each platform to shape my identity has always been an organic thing, I’ve never set out to consciously build my profiles. A small piece of my personality is allocated to each platform, tiny bits of me are strewn across the world wide web and some pieces overlap. Some have professional elements, other purely social and some have a bit of both (Facebook/Twitter). All these little pieces of me are my extended self or expanded self as discussed in “Extended Self in a Digital World” (Belk, 2013).
- Facebook is to connect with colleagues, friends and family. Here I create “collections of memories”, in the form of photos and posts showcasing, nights out and holidays. I also share and post well thought out content by other people and pages that resonates with me. This is a chronological timeline of my life.
- Instagram I have not used all that much but would lean towards posting individual, unusual and occasional beautiful pictures, not so much collections like I would have on Facebook. These are more object focused than people focused.
- YouTube is where I “collect” funny videos and great music.
- Pintrest is where I “collect” and keep “pretty pictures” that aren’t mine.
- Twitter I had only dabbled in until recently and I didn’t think much of… but this is now my space to like and follow things I am interested in such as bands, movies, TV shows and other public figures.
- Linkedin is for my professional online profile use only.
Looking at my Facebook timeline since 2006 is like a nostalgic story book of my life from my early 20’s until present day. This got me thinking that my grandparents and parents have traditional picture albums to showcase their life, perhaps a 70’s Polaroid or two (which is where the oh so popular Instagram “Amaro” or “Gingham” filters are replicating). I often wonder what will my digital show reel would be? What will future generations be able to tell about me based on the digital footprint I leave behind?
“Possessions comprising the extended self serve not only as cues for others to form impressions about us but also as markers for individual and collective memory” (Belk, 1988).
While always trying to maintain as true to myself as possible these persona presentations always have a slightly contrived element when I choose only be the best comments, videos, images and moments to broadcast to my audience of followers conveying only the best of my explicit and implicit self (Rannenberg et al., 2009).
“Digital identity refers to the representation of the identity of a person in digital environments, in particular in terms of representation of the characteristics (values associated to a set of attributes) of the person. The digital identity includes both the explicit representation of the person (such as name, age, email, etc) and implicit representation of the person (such as online reputation).” (Rannenberg et al., 2009)
“Don’t Get Reeled In” by Annaleis Bijdeveldt, 23 March 2017.
Taking selfies or filming myself is not part of my online persona. I try as much as I can not to conform to other expectations or what they might think of me.
“Cat With Attitude” by Annaleis Bijdeveldt, 9 March 2017.
Upon analyzing all of my profiles I either use my real name or go by the pseudonym of “Leisy By The Fields” a play on my real name and nickname with Dutch to English translation or sometimes I opt for “Anarchybythefields”. This was to have a little more fun with my profiles and convey my love of humour whilst maintaining some mystery. One thing I am always cognizant of is including humour in all of my online personas whether it be subtle or bold.
The blogger in me
With 152 million blogs (and counting) to compete with I immediately wanted to be anonymous. With the name Annonyblogger I felt I could be “safe” and protected behind a perceived veil of secrecy. Choosing “annony” with a double ‘n’ was a little play on my real name and in 2011 Annonyblogger was born.
A blog that could conceal my identity would allow me to portray a side of myself that coveys ideas, feelings and opinions I could not express or communicate as my true self for fear of ridicule. Another aspect to this is that it is a little theatrical and magical hiding behind this cloak of concealment when entering the blogosphere. An extreme example of anonymity in blogging can be seen in Kozhan (2011) defining a blog as a unique medium that allows for expression not possible anywhere else.
Since 2011, I have not blogged anything (until this week)! It is serendipitous that throughout the course of study I should have to create a blog space and discuss the very topic of anonymity and online personas.
We are anonymous. Or are we?
My interest in conspiracy could explain the use of a pseudonym for blogging. My fascination with anonymity stems from the incognito white hat hackers Anonymous, a global group of activists that wearing Guy Fawkes masks and fight online evil and corruption with the keyboard, not the sword. Assassins Creed the game where…
“Nothing is true; everything is permitted” (Bartol, 1938).
Meaning that all the rules imposed on us are in fact not true and we can do and be anything that we want to be.
My animal/celebrity personas
I have created an animal chart to explain my different online identities or moods shall I say. Which animal do you think best represent you?
What the online world allows us Web 2.0 versions of ourselves is to be our very own celebrity agent or manager minus the fees. I can choose my own branding, my own path or niche in the market and create a version of myself. Or like the 1 million users on Second Life, create an avatar of myself and be whoever I want to be.
The wrap – mic drop
Noticing that social media does allow us to censor the bad moments of life and perhaps promote our more desirable sides, it allows us to paint our own picture of our lives like a production editor.
(1,040 words, not including citations and captions)
Feature image “The many faces of Annaleis” by Annaleis Bijdeveldt
Bartol, V 2007, Alamut, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, United States
Belk, RW 1988, ‘Possessions and the Extended Self’, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 139-168.
Belk, RW 2013, ‘Extended Self in a Digital World’, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 477-500. Available from: 10.1086/671052. [7 April 2017].
Kozhan, M 2011, ‘Total privacy and absolute disclosure in the blogosphere: how anonymous courtesan blogs reveal all and why’, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, no. 3, p. 275.
Lincoln, R, & Coyle, IR 2013, ‘No-one Knows You’re a Dog on the Internet: Implications for Proactive Police Investigation of Sexual Offenders’, Psychiatry, Psychology & Law, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 294-300. Available from: 10.1080/13218719.2012.672274. [7 April 2017].
Williams, S. A., Fleming, S. C., Lundqvist, K. O. and Parslow, P. N. 2010 ‘Understanding your digital identity’, Learning Exchange, 1 (1). ISSN 2043-6602
Rannenberg, K., Royer, D. and Deuker , A. (2009), The Future of Identity in the Information Society – Challenges and Opportunities. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.
My broader ALC203-related online activity
At the time of writing this I have: Tweeted 77 times, followed 158 people, have 85 followers, 174 likes and 0 moments.
My strategy was to #ALC203 at least once a day. This worked well and on days where I had multiple ideas I would write them down. I made sure to follow people who posted on topics I appreciated or that had been really clever with creating content. I tended to be a little on the shy side but conversed where possible. The 140 microblogging word count made me think really craftily about what I wanted to say inn as few words as possible.
For someone who did not see the value in My Twitter Account until about 4 weeks ago, I have certainly been converted.