Sunday, 25 March 2012

Digital Identity in Contemporary America

Social media in the United States and globally is fast becoming the preferred method of which people interact with each other and therefore making human contact surplus. With websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Tumblir, Blogging, Skype, Instant Messenger, Linkedin etc. these are how someone is able to communicate with someone whether they be in the same room or on the other side of the world.
The downside to these new methods of interaction is that someone is able to portray themselves in a way that they would prefer to be seen, therefore masking their true identity which in some cases can lead to certain threats to specific groups such as children who are on line that can be easily influenced. This is fast becoming a high risk issue within society today as these children can be targeted by predators but also anybody can become the target of cyber crime and cyber stalking.
By people using these sites, they choose what information they wish to have online and once this information is out there it is very hard to get back and this also leaves people open to identity fraud. This means that hackers are able to gain this information and use it to their advantage, leaving individuals open to being a target as they are leaving a digital footprint which people can use to their advantage.
Along with these online social networking sites, other factors of which everyday life is affected is that everything is becoming available online such as banking, education, shopping etc which once again is replacing human contact.  An article that was published on Search Engineland, which had a report that was published by the Pew Internet Project, found that Americans will still shop online even though they still fear Identity Theft as they find it more convenient and it saves them time. This shows that the internet is continuing to work its way in to the daily lives of the everyday American as you will be able to see from the link that over 80% say that they use it to do their product research.
It can be perceived that these online facilities have benefited the world but it can also been seen that it has replaced who people really are with the ability to be whoever you want to be, in effect creating an alter ego. I know myself that if I am tagged in a photo on Facebook for example, and I look a little bit worse for wear or it is not a particularly fortunate angle for me where I don’t look my best then I can delete this from my timeline so that people cannot see this. This means that if I am able to do this, then so can everyone else so therefore how well do these digital online identities actually help us to know each other properly?

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