2014/08/24

4Chan

I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing that your offline and online identity are intertwined - at the naive level that the Zuckerberg marketing machine operates it sounds fair enough - and, ultimately it's true; for most of us we are the same person online as offline, physically if not behaviourally.

However, one of the reasons the internet is so liberating is precisely because you can maintain a number of alter-egos, you too can be a warrior at the weekend! It also forces the innate prejudices we have to be put to one side due to the historic interaction limitations that existed on the net - that a 15yr old geek can stand as an authority on something online where they'd be laughed off stage offline is evidence of this.

Zuckerberg and those of his ilk are riding on the back of this wave. They were born into a time where anonymity online was the norm and created the likes of fb to capture this herd of anonymous sheep desperate for somewhere to mingle and conjoin with friends and other like minded folk. But they've gradually lifted the shroud of privacy and pushed our online and offline selfs together, not for any other philosophical ideology than to drive bigger and bigger profits by selling this data on for advertising.

What's worse, they're destroying the historical limits of the physical world (as it was) where a rant in a pub, a one night stand or an off the cuff comment on the state of your bosses hygiene, could be forgotten in short order and in any case was unlikely to reach the ears of any more than a few dozen people. Now, any transgression, no matter how minor, is likely to be recorded for the next 100 years and available for anyone - at a price.

It's a sad day when the reason the net has been so successful for mankind (in part) is so easily being eroded away without any significant objection being raised. It's worse though when who we are as human beings is being abused for the sake of profit with no political will to stand against it. There will be a back-lash at some point, the only question is how much we are prepared to lose in the meantime.

Rant triggered by Guardian podcast - Founder of 4Chan Chris Poole, the 'anti-Zuckerberg'.

 

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