Sunday, 5 October 2008

iDentity, iText

A few years ago someone said that I had no way of knowing that Riverbend was a real person - that she could be lying about her identity.
This same person also suggested that I could not authenticate tommigoodwin who had been keeping a blog Senitel 47.

At the time I was fed up to be doubted like this - to have it suggested that Iwas being duped. But in retrospect I see this was an understandable suspivcion from someone who did not spend much time online - and it made me work out how Iknew that these bloggers were not 'fake' - whatever that might mean.

I realised that I had undergone a subconscious checking prodecure - just as I might in other areas of my life - just as when I meet someone new face top face - . In face to face situations I am not naturally suspicious of people but I guess obver time you learn how to pick up inconsistencies and can then spot someone who does not seem quite who they say they are - the person they say they are is not the same as you see enacted. Goffman writes about this as 'telling' signs - you can articulate one thing but your behaviour tells another.

What I find interesting is the way we want always to move beyond the text onscreen, back out to the lived life beyond the virtual world. When I was studying English Lit many years ago, I was atold always to keep to the text. To analyse just the text and not worry about the author's life. This is now an unfashionable approach I believe - I think now that in English Lit they learn that context of the writer is part of the meaning of the text.

And so too I suppose onscreen. We have to take into account the context of the writer.

Thus we tell people in our profiles where we live and who we are . People read this stuff and are angered when it is not true.

Just thinking aloud today - for once in months.


Dan said...


You might be pleased to know that after half-term I'm going to be doing non-fiction texts with Y9 and I'm planning on spending a few lessons on blogs and how we interpret and verify the authenticity of them.

I'll be using ideas from your blog posts and from the sessions last year and I'll be sure to share the resources once they're created. I'll be using Baghdad Burning and a selection of other blogs, so if you've any recommendations please let me know! :)

Karl said...

Please think aloud again - this is good.

I'd much rather assume the best about people than be constantly suspicious. However, that doesn't mean being a fool. Being honest online doesn't necessarily mean giving everything away or having no privacy. As in offline life we can find ways of interacting at appropriate levels for appropriate relationships and settings.

Not everyone online is being honest and we all have an agenda - whether that's to be liked, to contribute to debate or to mislead, con and phish. Some people like to focus on the bad bits and delight in being cleverly suspicious - as we are all aware, every single word on Wikipedia is not to be trusted.

I like to think I'm sufficiently experienced now to be just me both on and offline - well, I hope so. I find it interesting to see how either incautious or rabidly suspicious some people can be though. Is this how they are on the bus, I wonder.

I consider in a place such as Flickr it is relatively easy to pick up the 'telling' signs, (subconsciously?) verify stuff and adjust a relationship accordingly. In other places I'm amazed at what people blurt out to the world. Blogs, obviously, but Facebook et al too: I can see who's bought who a fish or a drink and who's given who a sexy back rub as well as who they're friends with and what they're saying to each other. I'd rather reserve the right stuff for broadcasting and other stuff for a conversation. I'm also interested that even writing this comment I'm peripheraly aware we're not having a private conversation and tailoring my pearls of wisdom (and mixed metaphors) accordingly.

Don't mean to sound superior, just very interested. I'll be round to sit at Joolz's knee for more insights shortly. Well, just as soon as I've re-supplied my personal details to five banks I didn't know I had accounts with.

DrJoolz said...

Dan!! Wow!! That is so exciting! I am really pleased that you are able to do this kind of stuff in your school... wonderful Where are you based (email me don't put on blog!)
Recommendations actually are the tommiGodwin and blog alongside Baghdad burning.
I also love Mrs Cassidy's blog and maybe the kids in your class wouldlike to see that as well as the oneat Monteney Primary in Sheffield:

By the way are you coming to our Digital readings Coference?
Sat Nov 8th ayt The University of Sheffield.

Hey Karl!! Good to see you and thanks for calling by!! You mention buses ... I can never believe what people blurt out on mobile phones on the bus!!