Online Identity

(Spoiler Disclaimer: I won’t discuss any major plot points in the film, “Ready Player One”, but as a person who never watches trailers nor reads plot synopses once I’ve decided I will see it, I can see how anything can be viewed as a spoiler. So, I would rather just start off with this warning that I will talk about things that happen in the movie, and if you wanted to see the movie, you could come back to this post after watching)

Apologies for the late post (as usual), but last week I happened to see the movie “Ready Player One,” and it got me thinking about how we view ourselves in the online space. The very ability to anonymize oneself allows people to be whoever they desire. One of the characters of this movie is a player character named Art3mis whose avatar is an attractive female with whom the protagonist develops an affection for. His friend is skeptical and thinks he is getting too attached to the avatar and assuming it’s representative of the real person behind it. This interaction really stood out to me that in the year 2045 (for the film), this was a still a point of contention. It was made clear that the real world has become devoid of any enjoyment for the masses which makes the appeal of The Oasis (the VR world much of the film takes place in) truly apparent where they can live out any of their wildest fantasies.

I wonder if this is a condition of today’s social media landscape where we are slowly being conditioned into believing that people’s posts, tweets or blog entries (*cough*) are perfect representations of the real person. I’m not trying to pull a Holden Caulfield and propose that everyone online is a phony, but rather I wanted to make it clear that people only share what they want other people to see. For some it means hiding any of the darkness in their lives where for others it is an escape from their life into the life they’ve always wanted to live. I’ll be the first to say that I am writing this blog under pseudonym, but my purpose for doing so is essentially no different than any of the characters of the film. I get the opportunity to set the terms of how I am viewed by others, and I am free to express my thoughts and opinions freely. That, to me is the real value of anonymity on the internet. Obviously, trolls take advantage of it, but I think this advantage is the internet’s truest equalizer.


P.S. This weekend is another of Splatoon 2’s Splatfests, so it turns out that I will be streaming on Saturday instead of Sunday. I will tweet out when I’m live, but I’m planning on sometime in the afternoon EST.

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