Seminar in Composition A blog for Annette Vee's section of Pitt's SC

18Apr/110

I’m not here, this isn’t happening

On the internet, no one goes by their real names. This seems obvious to us because this is how it has been for so long. With the exception of Facebook, people always have usernames composed of some strange composites of nonsense. Combine this with the fact that you are able to use a different username on every website if you want to, there is a strange ability to become anonymous even if you aren't under an anonymous name. You can do things on the internet that do not crossover into your real-life. Internet gaming is one example of this with which I am most familiar. I play Starcraft2, a game where people play amateur matches on the official website as well as there be professional matches. I of course only play the amateur matches (and yes this is my starcraft2 name too), but for the sake of this post I want to mention the way these pros are. All of them play under gamertags, and many are very famous under these names, but they have real names too. Some have multiple names as they change their tags. LiquidTyler is the same as Nony, WhiteRa is the same as duckload.Ra, leading to much confusion for those who don't know. Then there are members of the SC2 community who have become figureheads like Day(9). His real name is Sean Plott and he has a real life too, he's a masters student at USC, but his starcraft identity has begun to intersect with his real identity.

You can do a lot on the internet and it will be just like it never happened, but some of it will come in and intersect with our real lives. My question is to what extent are things that happen on the internet "real?" Is talking to someone on the Internet as "real as talking to someone in person? Is being famous on the internet as "real" as being famous in another medium? Or is it all just an imaginary land, where we can be free from our lives? What would the blending of our "real" and internet lives mean for society?

Posted by scipiobradus

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