Together with @reginazabo
Sockpuppetry (using false identities for deception) is centuries old, but the web has made creating sockpuppets, and falling for their tricks, easier than ever before. And we can make our own, if only for understanding our adversaries and finding countermoves.
- To be or not to be?
- Ditching avatars
- Giving an avatar a story
- Anonymising avatars
- A bunch of avatars
- Refine character(s)
We can’t physically meet most of the people we interact with on the internet. So we create avatars who represent us in the online world, personae that are designed (on some level, conscious or subconscious) to shape others’ ideas about who we really are. It is natural for us to create avatars that represent what we want to be rather than what we are. And it is only a short step from there to manipulating others’ perceptions of us to give ourselves an advantage of some sort, to deceive.
To become puppet masters. Secret services have even used dead children to create spy and infiltration personae.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Sockpuppetry”]
There are many (other) reasons for us for consciously creating multiple, fake, anonymous or pseudonymous identities online (without becoming the petty tyrants we fight):
- Engaging in the present with no need for past or future references.
- Being who you are naturally and freeing your speech.
- Dreaming another you into being for gaming, hobbies, trolling the trolls, defense from mass surveillance, confusing surveillance, etc. in a way that it doesn’t automatically become a part of your finger- and footprint.
- Being more resilient online.
- Career actualisation, increased individuality, autonomy and freedom by separating professional and private information.
- Exploring abandonment of being, and gaining recognition on how your “usual identity” can be a trap.
- Challenging yourself and engaging at the edge.
- Feeding (r)evolution and self-authority.
To be or not to be?
In order to keep your private life separated from your public life, it’s a good idea to develop alternative identities, at least two, your “real” identity for keeping in touch with close friends and relatives, and at least one (but you can have many) next to it for your “official” public life.
If you are very exposed and visible with your public activities, e.g. talking at conferences, writing for a newspaper with your real name, teaching, etc, you may want to flip that around: develop a “real” identity in connection with your public activities and a “fake” identity for your private life. Anyone who wants to attack you will have access to your public identity, but without any link to your private life.
Every case is different: consider your professional/activism/private needs and your security needs and you will find the right balance for creating your multiple identities.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”To be or not to be”]
When you are familiar with your own shadow online, you can change it, or you can ditch the avatar completely and leave digital spaces -some information can not easily be removed and/or changed and is retained- or set up multiple, fake, anonymous or pseudonymous avatars online.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Ditching Online Presence”]
Giving an avatar a story
An increasing number of psychologists argue that people living in modern societies give meaning to their lives by constructing and internalizing self-defining stories. Whatever, the practice of “story telling” seems much older to me and starting a new avatar with a story makes it a lot easier to maintain the role. You can make up your own story, use a “known” person’s story, or a god or goddess, a “group identity” like anonymous, …[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Multiple Identities”]
Just some examples of themes that dropped by in past four years:
The Matrix[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”The Matrix”]
In 1967, one of Star Trek‘s most iconic episodes “Mirror, Mirror” aired during season two of the original series. A transporter malfunction brought Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Lieutenant Uhura, and Chief Engineer Scotty to a different universe where viewers saw what looked like the familiar starship Enterprise and her crew until some key differences were revealed. Beloved characters had harsh, often evil counterparts distinguished not just by their opposite personalities but changes in appearance that included Spock’s alternate famously sporting a goatee.
[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Star Trek Mirror Universe”]
Deep Space 9:
[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”DS9 Mirror Universe”]
[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Enterprise Mirror Universe”]
Alice in Wonderland
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures (come visit our IRC #anonymiss channel).
The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Alice in Wonderland”]
Godesses[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Godesses”] And whatever more themes and stories … 🙂
- To not have your brand spanking new identity be associated easily with your already existing identities it needs separation, anonymising. Always use anonymising for signing up and accessing the web services you have chosen to use with your virtual identity. In this way it will be hard(er) to connect your IP to your “real identity”, and not even the server.
- In general, keep your conversations as private as possible.
- Use safer browsing. Do not to use the same browser or smartphone app for different profiles and follow these rules of thumb.
- If you really really want to use social networks, be very careful, and try to use non-commercial platforms. Commercial platforms should always be accessed through Tor, with the Noscript extension activated.
- If you are planning to run a website or a blog, anonymise from the start …
A bunch of avatars
Once you decide to create multiple identities for your online activities, your “real identity” also becomes a “fake” identity. You have to give a particular character to each of your personas, including the one who carries your true name.
- In order to create credible virtual personas, you should gain a reputation and build an all round character, as well as selecting specific topics you focus on.
- The topics and interests may overlap, but it’s better if each persona focuses on certain topics more than the others.
- Use a different psychological attitude (optimist/pessimist, harsh/kind, etc.) for each persona.
- Choose a different profession for each persona.
- Choose different genders.
- Give your personas a few vulnerabilities to make them more credible. If you make those your strengths. If someone attacks you you can more easily handle the attack. You can play with this and challenge yourself.
- Make the personas different from you for specific areas of expertise. For instance, if you are skilled in digital security, your virtual persona may be a n00b who’s never heard about GPG.
- Finally, consider your linguistic fingerprint – Keep it simple by selecting a persona with a simple rule, like Shouter (all capitals), Low-Talker (all lowercase), Super Excitable (exclamation marks!), or the Apostrophe Criminal (never use them, ever).
- And a rule for acting under stress: blaming, placating, super-rationalising, or going irrelevant. 😉
Refine the character(s)
Build one room, then add to it. That goes for this page too. Enjoying some possibly inspirational sources 😀
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