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Allan's Philosophy Podcast

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 23 - Identities and Anonymity

Hey guys so I've updated the blog a lot like with feeds to my YouTube account and basically the only things I have left to do is to make an audio version of my videos and set up a podcast on iTunes. I could really use your guys help though in this. What I want to make happen is that whenever I post a new video on YouTube I want iTunes to add this as both a new video and audio podcast to my iTunes account but I have no idea how to make this happen. I have my videos as an RSS feed but whenever I try to submit it to iTunes it says that there aren't any podcasts on the feed. I don't know if it is because of YouTube's video format and since YouTube only streams requiring internet access maybe that's why iTunes is denying it. Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out.
So this one I wanted to talk about anonymity and the state of being anonymous. Yes it is a hard word to say like with anemone in Finding Nemo lol. I got the inspiration for this one when looking on Facebook and seeing all the formspring posts. If you haven't realized people can be complete douche bags when you give them the opportunity to give their opinions anonymously. While being anonymous the people hiding behind it or using it as cover are basically given a blank check to fully unload all of their opinions or beliefs without the threat of reaction from their audience. There aren't any risks involved with being anonymous because it strips the identity from the opinions and viewpoints. The bond between your and your views is severed restricting the possibilities of negative repercussions to you.

Your identity is the big picture of who you are. It can but isn't limited to encompassing your style, beliefs, appearance, and many other factors that, when combined, make up your collective being. Without a name to associate ones beliefs to, your identity is meaningless thus forming anonymity. When your anonymous, people may take your viewpoints as less serious because you aren't willing to bridge your identity with your views. Some people call those who hide behind anonymity cowards because they believe those anonymous are too afraid to take responsibility for their beliefs and thus not willing to deal with the consequences of them. On formspring people are given full capabilities of being an ass hole because they aren't being held personally responsible for what they say. If you are being antagonized by these people you may counter and say that they are cowards but just by giving them the opportunity to say things while anonymous gives them power. On the internet it is becoming more prominent the fact that people can be assholes on the internet and not suffer any repercussions for their actions. The terminology to classify these people is "trolls" and they are so widespread it is almost impossible not to find one. Just go to a YouTube video and look in the comments and there are people there considered trolls. Identities are essentially worthless on the internet because basically everywhere except Facebook they allow users to create new personas allowing them to be whoever they want. This can cause horrible outcomes as criminals can hide under these fake personas online and cause harm in the real world like with rapists and such.

Not all anonymity is bad however. As I said before it allows you to voice your true feelings and opinions without being prosecuted for them. There are plenty of examples in the news where someone gives insider information while being anonymous. This anonymity that they hide behind is used as cover to protect their real identities and possible family members while still revealing important information that could be vital that the public needs to know about. Playing the devil's advocate role, you still have to be cautious in what you believe from an anonymous source because they also have the freedom to say whatever they want regardless of its validity. This anonymity does provide a sense of security and maintains privacy in a world that is increasingly limiting these opportunities for privacy. Your identity is a very important in who you are and you must protect it because if anyone gets control or a hold over it your name can be completely ruined. One of the biggest crimes nowadays is identity theft and it is royally screwing some people's lives over so by being anonymous you help preserve you identity.

Whatever a person does, their name is attached with their actions and if someone else has your identity then their actions are attached with your name. It is representative of you without actually being controlled by you. You can voluntarily have other people represent your name and because of this fact it is at the upmost importance that you trust those who hold your identity in their hands. As good example is with the president and how he holds the identity of the United States in his hands and whatever he does, the U.S.'s name is attached to his actions so he always has to be politically correct in fear of slandering and defaming the U.S.'s name. Representatives can be a good way in gaining positive publicity through the actions of others like if you are sponsoring an athlete and they accomplish great feats your brand in turn rises to great heights as well. Tiger Woods' identity was put in a compromising situation causing his sponsors to look bad as well because it can be misconstrued that they are promoting such behavior. That is why companies like Gatorade pulled their support for Tiger Woods once it became apparent he was involved in some looked down upon behaviors. If Tiger Woods name was never attached to these conspiracies his life would be looking a lot better right now. Being framed for things is similar to the implications identity theft can impose on a person. If you are held responsible for something you didn’t do then it is to the same effect that you actually committed those actions regardless if you did or not. It is imperative that you keep your identity clean and if going anonymous will keep it from being stained then it may be a necessary course of action. However if you are being required to go anonymous because of your actions then you may want to step back and reconsider if it is really worth committing them.

-Allan Nicholas

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