When online commenting started to become popular, it wasn’t long before people took up aliases. All you need is a fake e-mail account. This ease of anonymity and low bar of e-mail account admissions shows a lack of social responsibility from social media companies, particularly the Big Five, Google, Twitter Facebook, etc. Since you take their service for free and signoff any rights, they are unaccountable, unreachable, and do whatever they want. You are freed to do the same.
That’s the message to the public. All is permitted, no accountability, no normal social standards. They do it, you do it; the Russians do it. It’s a brave new world… A door has been opened wide for normally more-controlled human deviousness.
Many folks use aliases in local social media. If you have an alias habit, why stop at one? I know a few people who have multiple aliases, at least one of which has been used to stalk me on Facebook. This same person also has an alias used to amplify his HOSPITAL OPINIONS.
Sometimes one coyote can sound like six, and I’d advise the hospital board and staff, and anyone else in power and civil society for that matter, to completely ignore alias comments. Anyone who can’t be honest enough to use their real name when expressing opinions doesn’t deserve to be engaged.
One tactic I’ve seen with my Facebook stalker is to target my Friends list, to see if an in can be gotten to engage me that way. I’ve seen “friend” associates fall for sexy girl trolling. Associates “friend” my stalker, then I get a friend request from the “girl.” Should I be flattered someone wants to engage me that bad? No, this is beyond that; it’s pitiful and creepy. The alias loophole allows online harassment to take place. In normal civil society, this is restraining order stuff.
As someone who enjoys words and language, I can see the patterns of people’s speech and writing. Peculiar signatures stand out, the turn of a phrase, use of caps or quotes, point of view, habitual subject matter, type of innuendo, style, tone, level of sarcasm etc. You can see who people are even though they try to hide it.
From the Russian example, social media Trojan Horses can be used for more nefarious purposes. Lack of transparency in the whole social media scene is troubling. Sonoma now has a very nasty Word Press anonymous political smear piece going, and as with aliases, it is not that hard to figure out who’s behind it, just look at the track record of previous behavior. Who has the motive? Guess. These people have no class or integrity. They may be members of your nice social circle pretending to be regular Joe
One aspect of the alias phenomena: people who have a lot to say, or who want to engage for whatever reasons, may be embarrassed to be showing up everywhere, and saying nasty stuff. They can’t moderate tone or quantity, so they find ways to disguise themselves. It is probably a good bet that people who make tons of comments and posts, or who have compulsive axes to grind have aliases as well. Two coyotes can sound like 15. Seasoned civil society actors should realize, as with real coyotes, it is just noise, there’s no real danger.
Some local aliases have become so normalized that actual people carry on with them: Dee Test, Fishnfnatic, runndz, johndip, e pluribus unum, Sonoma Guy and Conservative Bob, are some that come to mind. After I busted Clyde Lamar on Facebook, that alias disappeared instantly; 500+ Facebook friends, wow! These local aliases are accountable to none, and feel free to drop as many rude bombs as they want. Unfortunately for them, people have gotten tired of it and more and more, these aliases remain alone in the comment section; no one wants to play.
Unfortunately for comment and other social media platforms, “likes”, “looks”, and “hits” are the new currency that validates status and popularity. These hits also make tons of money for Internet companies who have discovered formulae for how to exploit socially adapted people at their most vulnerable level of natural behavior.
Paid fake comments, or vendettas to like or dislike businesses are good cases in point. You can’t trust anything that uses unverifiable aliases as the principle source of info. Wikipedia is a constant game of reframing what people see as true. With lack of transparency, accountability goes out the window. The Big Five have played us out; we’re captive audience dupes in their video game; souls sold for free convenience and free access. There is no recourse, no one can break the barrier to even get through on the phone, no one to watch or even question the watchers.
If competition and every dog for himself was our default behavior, we wouldn’t fall so easily for these social media, peer pressure traps.
Modern people are glued to their smartphones 24/7, desperate for relationship approval; they go for tech validation like flies on shit while the Big Five make money all the way to the bank. We’ve got no one to blame but ourselves for buying into this like sheep to the slaughter. The swamp of aliases is just one affect of the whole thing.
A letter to the editor used to require validation with name, address and phone. Now we are on a slippery slope to George Orwell’s 1984, surveilled by Big Brother and
trolled by our own fellows who exploit our ingrained social tendencies along the channels of the anonymous “tech ecosystem.”
Aliases should not be read, replied to, nor given any credence. Lets’ not forget who we were before all this social media started. When identify itself is fungible, we lose the only real touchstone with social reality we have. With aliases pretended as real, agency and purpose becomes suspect, motives are hidden, accountability is lost and obscured, new forms of harassment enabled. Let these tech sprites go on in their own fantasy zones, and leave real life for real people.