Monday, February 27, 2012

Cyberculture and Identity

I just read an article about every 60 seconds in social media this weekend. The inforgraphic showed amazing data about how social media inundate the web with their status updates, tweets, and photos in a single minute.

“Every 60 seconds in social media, two million videos are viewed on YouTube, 700,000 messages are delivered by way of Facebook, 175,000 tweets are fired off into the ether, and 2,000 Foursquare check-ins tell the world where we are.”

It’s not that surprised to see the heavy usage of social media in today’s society, but it made me thinking about how the new social media sites become competitive in this fierce competition. Pinterest launched on March 2010 which was just about two years, but it has already become one of the top 10 social networks. Why do you think Pinterest become so popular in this short period of time? What do you think about the development of social media in the next decades?

Pramod Nayar’s article talked about cyberculture identity issue which reminds me of a new policy for weibo (Chinese twitter). “Cyberspace allows one to pick an identity, to masquerade, mimic, and transcend bodily identities and interact with the world as somebody else. In a world where race, class, gender, and sexuality ca become obstacles in interactions with the world, cyberspace allows one to choose an identity that may have nothing to do with one’s “real-life” gender or race.” Since it’s not necessary to use real identity, people could pretend to be others and misrepresent news to the masses. It always happens that someone use a celebrity’s identity to defraud fans on microblog. Misrepresentation is also a common issue due to the freedom of cyberculture identity. Due to these reasons, weibo launched a new policy which encouraged people to register with real name and information. I think it should be helpful to control identity thief and misrepresented news, but people who enjoyed anonymous posting will lose interest in microblog. What do you think about cyberculture identity?


  1. I think you make interesting points about the pros and cons of giving one's "real" identity (name) in cyberculture arenas like weibo. I agree that it could help prevent some cybercrimes...

    However, wouldn't this also take away one of the real benefits of the anonymous posting - working to mold one's identity? Some of the articles in the textbook we read a few weeks ago really made some interesting points about "trying on" different identities. People used to do this through reading - but the creation of cyber identities really does allow people to try out different masks before they mold their real self.

    Or, I guess, maybe that's not always good either. While people can safely try out new versions of themselves, maybe they are also only really molding themselves into what society wants. I think the article made a good point about the relationship between the real world and the cyberworld - that the two - and their problems with the "isms" - are intertwined.

  2. The readings this week on cyberculture and identity were timely as I read an article from today's Advertising Age titled, "The Brutal Truth About Social Media: It's OK to Be a Little Antisocial."

    One passage in particular stated: "Many social-media "experts" insist that a "two-way conversation" between marketers and consumers is the whole point of social, and anything less than that is a reflection of outdated, broadcast-style thinking. But the reality is that many people follow and "friend" brands simply because they want to hear from those brands, not necessarily talk back."

    Pinterest is a popular site because it's a quick way to categorize information and content from blogs. If a site provides a service that makes obtaining content easier is adopted quickly by users.

    We constantly "take in" social media, but how often to we join the conversation or choose to talk back to brands? It's difficult for brands to encourage engagement now, but it will become more and more difficult as social networks become more cluttered.

  3. Thanks for the link - I loved the infographic. I think the idea of anonymous versus actual representation on the internet creates an interesting conundrum. Being about to post freely and anonymously is great because we can develop a unique online persona that may be different than our actual persona. If we are forced to be representative of our real persona online, I think it brings more of a filter to online posting. People will be more conservative with their posting. Even blogs who try to remain anonymous can't seem to do so. There have been stories about identities revealed as the media launches into revealing them; one of the latest is "Dear Sugar" ( ).

  4. It is interesting to read your post about CHinese Weibo new policy. I registrated the Weibo several years ago, when it just launched in China. I don't have to use my real name on it or any information related to my real life. And i've been using it for 3 years. The same but frustrating thing happened to me when I started using CHinese Facebook, renren. Everyone on Renren could change their name freely if they want, and they can use whatever photos they like to be their image. But later when i tried to changed my FAKE name into my real name, i realized i can't. Because i can only change my name after being verified by Renren, which sucks, because they never accept my real name, so i just kept being FAKE for a long time.

    I think the new policy of Weibo is good and acceptable for CHinese people, because users could registrate with their real information but using a nickname to present themselves. This satisfies the user on one hand, but protect weibo users on the other hand, in case bad people using their weibo to do bad things.


  5. When I think about social identity my mind immediately goes to the Journal Star online comments. I always wonder if comments would be as dynamic if posters were forced to register with their name or any other identifying information. It's almost like we thrive behind the anonymity of our screen names. We feel more able to say what is on our mind without fear of direct criticism. Although there are certainly heated debates in this forum, it seems a little less damaging to the parties involved to offer an opinion, I think. Now, whether this is good or bad I have yet to decide, but it is entertaining in the least, and a part of me wants to believe that is the ultimate purpose. I think LJS gains a bit by letting their readers duke it out publicly -- at least it has me spending an extra 5 minutes or so on their site.