Home 55% Of People Regularly or Always Fake Their Web Identity

55% Of People Regularly or Always Fake Their Web Identity

Our current
has been causing a bit of water cooler discussion amongst the Read/WriteWeb
authors. The question we’re asking in the poll is: in your current Web
activities where an identity is required (i.e. you can’t be anonymous) do you
ever fake all or part of your identity?

After 511 votes so far, an astonishing 55% of respondents say they regularly
or always use fake Web identities. Just 12% of people said they
always use their real identity. Remember we’re specifically asking about the
times when you use an identity rather than being simply anonymous – so for
example if you use online dating sites, peer-to-peer transactions sites such as
craigslist or ebay, and general social networking sites like MySpace and Second

One thought amongst the R/WW authors was that the poll might be a bit too
general. Indeed the poll results reminded me of a comment made on an earlier R/WW post
(by Jitendra Gupta) about Throwaway
. This is an extract from the comment I’m referring to, which was
made by a 19-year old:

“I think there’s two areas that need to be treated separately:

1 – Teenage social things like myspace, IM, video games etc.

2 – Serious things where someone can ruin your career or life by stealing your

In the second area a system like openID is needed, but in the first it’s
fun to change your identity and it’s even part of the experience.”

So perhaps the Web is encouraging people, particularly the younger
generation, to experiment with identity in social networks and the like. That
it’s all part of the Web experience these days. But
when it comes to ‘serious’ things, like buying and selling on eBay, then people
will use their real identities.

What do others make of the poll results so far? 55% of people regularly or
always faking their Web identity seems quite high, but is it just a reflection
of the current era of the Web – which is mostly about socializing and
entertainment? Also perhaps faking your Web identity is just plain common sense on
social networks and social blogs, because who knows if what you write today will
bite you in the bum 10-15 years down the line.

Pic by miss.chaos

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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