I have always loved a good conspiracy theory and when I saw the above video I got a small tingling in my loins that reminded me of a time when Fox Moulder was more important to me than any girl (a significant admission considering I was waist deep in adolescence at the time).
I haven’t verified any of the information in the video and if I could I probably wouldn’t want to. After all, with all the facts verified a conspiracy inevitably turns in to factual story and where would the fun be in that?
It did get me thinking though. Lets say the United States Government, through various organisations acting on its behalf, established a social media network whose primary aim was to collect information from it’s members and their associates. And lets assume that their motives were evil and rooted in a quest for power and control. Just how accurate could this information be?
I am the first to admit that my online persona(s) don’t cast the same reflection I see every morning in my bathroom mirror. Although they might be close to reality they are still projections of a self that I would like others to see. Online identity is far more malleable than “real life” identity; the latter is shaped by factors that are difficult to control (including race, class, occupation, and level of educational achievement). By means of online identities, people are free to redefine themselves as they wish (Wikipedia).
Many internet users have multiple identities, much the same as in real life (who out there can deny changing the intonation of their voice when speaking to a loved one as opposed to a work college?). So how accurate could this huge, theoretical database of information be? And who is in charge of analysing this mammoth of information? As far as I’m aware computers can’t number-crunch the infinite complexities of human interaction, so even if the information collected were accurate and online identities mirrored “real life” identities, what would be the point of collecting it?
Maybe that’s why I always use my real name online. To me it’s a name like any other and is just as much a reflection of my true identity as it is my online identity.
I imagine a city size data warehouse with skyscraper-super-computers trawling the net and I laugh at the absurdity and futility of it all.
“There’s three people in the mirror, and I’m wonderin’ which of these I should choose” – Jack White III