We Need Online Alter Egos Now More Than Ever

This is a post from 2014 that I thinks is as relevant now as it ever was.
I like it’s thesis, that even without looking for anonymity, we might want to live in a world where we can inhabit more than one identity.

A persistent pseudonym establishes a local identity: You always use it on a certain site or sites, and you build up a history and reputation under that name. You might use one pseudonym to write all sorts of product and service reviews, another in a support group for a personal health issue, and use your real name in discussions on professional forums and to comment on news stories.

I think this is a fairly reasonable position to adopt. I also think it should be achievable to have a system like this.

At the end there is a suggestion that camera’s and facial recognition software means we will loose of pseudonymity in the physical world and so we might need to find it in the digital world. I’m not sure I agree with this yet.


Surely anonymity doesn’t really exist in the physical and never has? The facial recognition capabilities of everyone who lives on your street are really quite excellent! To achieve pseudonymity in the physical you’d have to wear a mask, change your clothes, have a different voice and do all of those things really well in order to create a reliable misdirection. Until your face falls of during the Heimlich of course:

At least in real life time heals things over. People move on. In the digital sphere your words are etched permanently into the fabric of the internet.

I like this quote from the article linked below:

“[The] key to making pseudonymous participation productive is to inspire people to care about the impression they are making on others.”