Identity: Finding Your Form Online

Attending the first session at #ir11, which is fittingly on online identity. Imention that this is fitting as it is my area of interest for my doctoral thesis (the proposal for which I will begin in this coming January).

The first presenter is Kelly Bergstrom at York University, who is speaking about trolling at Reddit.com. I have never used Reddit, so yet another thing to put on my to-do list.

I hear a lot of people tap tap tap on laptops; once again, not a surprise given the conference focus. Yes, once again I very much miss my Mac.

Kelly is speaking about Grandpa Wiggly, a real account on Reddit, and which is the focus of her work. In the process of her work, it came out that Grandpa Wiggly was really a young person, and there was an explanation that was provided for people. While there was no sinister motive, this was done for the sake of a fictious account to tell a story, or rather group of stories. Seems many people were upset that this character was not real. Alas, how does one verify who or what is real or accurate or honest or not online?

So, was this character a troll (one who disrupts discussion or otherwise causes problems or flares) or a character to begin discussion? This was interesting, as the concept of trolling is current and of concern and  is filled with loaded language.

Yoonmo Sang is now speaking about his paper on “Right of Reply,” which is about the concept of being able to reply to comments in the same medium where they were originally given, related to “the growing necessity of redeeming reputational damage on the Internet.” Interesting concept, yet something else I do not know much about.

I like how Yoonmu began his work with some legal explanations and rulings about this concept. It seems the right of reply is more common in the US in traditional media, though this is not as easy in the Internet. We are going back and forth between how this works in the US and in South Korea. Nice to see these sorts of comparisons between nations / cultures.

It is clear that the concept of the right of reply will become an even greater factor in Internet Research, law, and ethics. Seems the US is a bit behind in the area of the right of reply, and that seems fitting given our focus on freedom of speech (especially for speech that we “agree” with, alas).

Nora Madison is speaking about “Bi Watchdogs Patrolling the boarders of (in)visibility.” Interesting concept of binaries (male or female, gay or straight, etc.). This is related to my recent focus on dualism and how this seems focus on a post-positivistic perspective of giving name to things and putting them in this or that box.

Bisexuality as a narrative of resistance. Hmm, interesting concept about hegemonic discourse and cultural binaries. Ahh, I love critical theory. This is a really engaging concept, specifically about how using terms frames a discussion and way of thinking about things. Makes me wonder about how those who control or dominate the Web force their frames of issues for those who do not have the voice to speak up.

One of the things I like about liveblogging, is I process my own experience of the presentation as it is happening. Yes, very related to my research stream.

Interesting watchdog concept of looking for bisexuality and its use online, to see if it fits within the perspective of what is or is not acceptable to a person or community.

“Community  formation is always a political event,” of who is included and not included. Interesting in how this relates with cultural and online presence and voice. Reference to bisocalnetwork.com and the “I am visible” campaign.

Now, the fourth presenter Jennifer Cypher on “Questioning anonymity in the blogosphere: A blogging cycle of identity formation.” This is right in the area of my research and which I have blogged abbout before. Ahh, this is within her PhD work.

The more work she did on blogging, the more that issues of identity started coming up.

Ahh, zero comment and zero reader bloggers. I can relate to them! Blogging away in a vaccum. Nicely stated, though I wonder why many of them use pseudonyms. Alas, I wonder why?

She just listed Six steps of identity creation via blogging practice. I missed the reference for this, alas. Will have to look into this more.

The room here at the conference is full. Nice room, though a tad small for the group here.

Pseudonym + concealment = anonymity? Interesting concept that Jennifer is presenting. Seems her work is around concealment and blogging identity. She just shared how she blogged at one point after she had a child who died, and she anonymously blogged about her experences as a coping mechanism. She did not share this with anybody she knew, but then this all started to develop in a particular community when she started to communicate with others who has similar experiences.

I really love struggling through these issues, and am saddened that I have been so busy that I have put a lot of my own work in this area on temporary hold as I have been so busy. Alas, no more of that unending work as I am realizing how disconnected from my own communities I have been.

I like her blogging name, DeadBabyMama. Quite macabre and fitting in an October conference. I wonder how that self-naming relates to self-identity (or identity development)? Interesting work on silos and integration with concealed identities.

I have a question for Nora about her perspective on binaries, and how this relates to ontological or epsitemological perspectives. While related to control (critical theory), does her work look into post-postivism and how it is silently present when those who have voice use that to frame (and thus control) the conversation?