Guest Post: Your Online Identity – Part 2 – Social Constructs

Guest Post: Your Online Identity – Part 2 – Social Constructs

I often say that one of my blog post is based on a conversation “with a friend”.  When I do that, as often as not that friend is Bojan Soldan.  I have had the pleasure of working with Bojan on several projects and can think of no one’s opinion who I respect more in the fields of social media, gaming and design.  The great news for those of you who don’t get to talk to him as often as I do is that he’s decided to bring those opinions (and some of his artwork) to the worldwide web in the form of his new blog,blog.BojanSoldan.com.  His first technology related posts will be a fantastic seven part series about having a true online identity, and what that might mean for us, the end users.  I’ll be cross-posting that first series here over the next couple weeks for your enjoyment, but for the rest of his work you’ll have to visit him atwww.BojanSoldan.com.

This is part 2 of a 7 part series:

I’m of the firm opinion that our society is built on identity and reputation. You act the way you do in public because of the presence of others. Your actions follow you around, and in tightly knit environments, the word about your actions quickly spreads. Before the widespread use of news and other forms of communication, society depended on these constructs to remain functional. If an individual did something to betray someone’s trust, they really only had three choices: find a way to redeem themselves, suffer the consequences, or move to a new place, and build a new identity from scratch, which is not an easy task . This is pretty much how the internet works today. There is no real governing body that identifies you, and as a result, if you get banned, ignored, removed, or any of the other blocking mechanisms that exist a tools to prevent such behavior, the answer is to simply to create another account and start over.

The difference is that for a lot of the people who push the limit so hard as to actually get banned, starting over is incredibly easy in most online environments. You have to keep in mind that most of the trolls and spammers are not in it for the long term. They are not interested in building a following on Twitter, raiding end game dungeons in an MMO, or building a subscriber base on YouTube. As a result, all they have to do is create a new username/character, log in, and continue until they once again get banned, deleted, or removed. For people who do try to build a following on the other hand, starting over is actually quite a difficult task.