Program Or Be Programmed

Douglas Rushkoff explores the highly questionable subject of online identity and its stray from reality.

In my opinion, being yourself in a world full of people who are constantly hiding behind a mask is one of the most respectable qualities that a person can have. Douglas Rushkoff, the author of ‘Program Or Be Programmed: Ten Commands For A Digital Age’, seems to agree with my point of view as well.

In chapter 6, entitled ‘Identity’, Rushkoff says that “the more anonymously we engage with others, the less we experience the human repercussions of what we say and do” (85). When interacting online, we are unable to physically observe how our words affect the people we are talking with. This makes for a society full of people who are much bolder online than they are in person; in other words, we as a society are slowly losing our social skills and awareness of moral boundaries. As our technology continues to advance at a vastly fast pace, we will soon require less need for social interaction, in turn making it quite possible to lose our social skills altogether.

Online bullying is the most common form of hate. Hiding behind a fake name and/or speaking from an online account somehow makes it more acceptable to say certain things to your peers. This is a horrible truth that hopefully we can make an end to.

As Rushkoff says, “whether sending an email, typing a comment to a blog post, or controlling an avatar in a video game, we are not in the computer, at a discussion, or in the fantasy world with our friends. We are at home or the office, behind a computer terminal or game console. We are operating out of our bodies and free of our identities.” The transformations made online by most individuals are extreme; it’s easy to forget who you are when you are speaking from an ‘anonymous’ perspective.

fAre you going to be the next victim of identity theft?
Online predators are extremely common in today’s society

“The less we take responsibility for what we say and do online, the more likely we are to behave in ways that reflect our worst natures — or even the worst natures of others. Because digital technology is biased toward depersonalization, we must make an effort not to operate anonymously, unless absolutely necessary. We must be ourselves” (83). It is extremely important to keep track of who you are online and maintain a sense of online identity or else you could get yourself into trouble. These days, many people impersonate others in the realm of social media and create many potential dangerous situations.

Aim to be yourself in a world full of fake people. Start by being yourself online.
Who are you really chatting with online? Who knows if ‘Judy Brooks’, your friend on instagram, is actually an old man posing as a 20 year old girl?
What mask are you going to put on today? Feeling the need to hide our true identities is way too common in the modern day world.

I had multiple questions for Douglas Rushkoff after reading his book ‘Program Or Be Programmed’, but felt that it would be the most valuable to ask “do you think that Identity theft will continue to become a more pronounced issue as technology becomes more advanced?” Here is the link to my vimeo video, where I raised this question:

This article entitled ‘Why would someone create a fake online personality?’ attempts to explain identity theft and online impersonation as well as the dangers imposed by both:

Here are some tweets that I found that represent some of the things that Rushkoff mentions in his literary work:

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