THE INTERNET AND IDENTITY
By Harry Banham
How has internet changed the way we perceive identity in Hong Kong?
Identity throughout time has been a staple for what people associate others with. But as technology advances into people's everyday lives; What effect does that have on Identity?
1.01 billion daily logins
49% of it's users are on daily (2013 survey)
22% of twitter users are on several times a day (2013 survey)
What is the definition of "IDENTITY"
What can identity be defined as?
Identity can be defined as several things and can be changed accordingly to those factors. Those factors can be where you are from, geologically, culture, religion or even tradition. But these factors are ever changing with the sudden explosion of the internet and social medias.
Physical aspects of identity?
Identity is probably most known for being based off of how people look, how we associate a person's body and face with each other. How a skin tone, a facial trait, a body trait can change the way we perceive somebody's identity. This is not the only physical aspect of identity, there are many more but I would like to highlight one; the properties of somebody. Properties can define and outline identity, they could be someone's hobbies, someone's personal possessions or just something that reflects who they are.
Geological aspects of Identity:
Geography can be a factor of how identity is built. For instance in a multi cultural zone such as Hong Kong it is more likely that culture and tradition may be blurred due to all of the varied and different cultures conflicting with each other. And for a more geological and landform based example, just take the Tibetan Buddhist, up in the mountains of Mongolia. Their identity can be primarily based off of the fact that there homes are up high on mountains and that other subcultures and facilities that have to change because of that.
With the internet the world has become a whole lot smaller then it once was. With one search you can find hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pages on that topic, allowing us to learn about countries profiles with one search. This can then be used to find identities of other things, cultural aspects of countries, geology of countries and the history of countries.
Cultural aspects of Identity:
Culture can take a major role in the makeup of Identity. This is because it relates to all kinds of people by providing easy access to sources of entertainment, and communication. Social media can also be used in a professional way in order to advertise or to address important issues within society.
Religious aspects of Identity:
Religion can define a person's identity, whether that is what you wear, the things you do, the things you eat etc. Religion can make a person who they are, can tell you where they are from, what things they are most gravitated towards and even the people they may hang out with.
Identity in Hong Kong:
To me Hong Kong has only one word that can describe it, diverse. Diverse is a word that comes to mind when thinking of Hong Kong because of the fact that it has such a mixed identity that can’t be pinpointed. This is due to the fact that the mix of European, Asian, American identities from Hong Kong’s past have fused together in such a way that the community is built upon all of these identities. Another factor as to why Hong Kong’s identity is so elluding is the fact that media and the internet has taken a major role in people's lives. Changing the community and social dynamic’s identity.
How would social media affect Identity:
From personal experience I can say that social media has become more than just a screen on my phone, but a way to communicate and collaborate in a revolutionary way. Whether that be being able to connect anywhere you go, or being able to connect using photos, text, video and other forms and plains of the internet. The internet over the years and generations have become more than just a way we can communicate but a staple to everybody’s lives, it has become something that is essential to the market and industry era we are now living in. So from what the internet and social media has become in the recent years, it is easy to just “say” that it is making a difference to identity as a whole. But what is harder is to pinpoint what is changing about identity.
I personally believe that identity is changed drastically because of social media. I think this because of many reasons, whether that be people's jobs or people’s social media accounts. Social media has become such an essential to people's lives that it has become people’s identity.
Pros of social media
Social media allows it’s users to communicate, collaborate and connect with everyone around them. It allows people to create new accounts and open themselves to the world, basically like turning a new leaf on life. It allows people to create a virtual version of themselves and possibly change the way they act in a positive way.
Cons of social media
The cons of social media are pretty bad, it may allow people to connect with other people but what stops them from connecting with the wrong people. There are warnings and red herrings but it is inevitable that you will connect with bad people on the internet, this may just be unpleasant trolls but in some cases this could mean hackers and identity thieves. Nowadays with universities they check your internet footprint, what comes up when they search your name. So now you can see how important it is to keep your social media accounts yours. Not an identity thieves account that they stole off of you.
ISSUES PRESENT WITHIN THE INTERNET
Internet Stalking: Internet stalking has taken a prime role in the problems of internet usage as with the explosion of social medias peoples e-lives have become more and more vulnerable to the people around the world. People are still unaware of what their internet footprint are towards the outside world, internet stalkers have been able to find connections between people's virtual lives and their real lives. Prime cases of this have been where random people have been able to find out peoples addresses and private information without them noticing. I personally believe that internet stalking is a thing because of how easy it is to abuse the internet and find things out on social medias, and that people leave themselves to vulnerable to the internet. A way that people can stop this, specifically within the younger generation is with schools. From personal experience I know that Island school has a good system where they talk about the dangers of the social medias and how putting yourself out on the internet can cause distress and problems if not used correctly. For instance they talk about how to put your social medias to the right settings, for friends to view it but not strangers.
Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying has grown exponentially with the growing of social medias and the internet. Cyberbullying is the bullying of someone or someone(s) in a harmful manner through the internet, this is present in this generation because of how with schools comes bullies and hatred towards peers. Cyberbullying is a thing because of how it would be easier to bully someone through the internet as it would not be face to face. This can be solved easily with the settings of social media, with one click, yet people are oblivious to this. Thus I think the real way to solve cyberbullying is through raising awareness of internet safety.
Hacking: Hacking to me, is scary. We as a generation have not yet seen the true power of the internet when someone abuses it to this extent. There have been alarms with anonymous and how the most innocent things can lead to distress world wide. For instance the hacking of the apple cloud can lead to private information being leaked and peoples lives being changed in a very bad way.
Plagiarism: The process of taking somebodies intellectual property without anybodies permission. This is bad because of the fact that you are taking someones property, someones work, something they may have worked very hard on. This is basically the equivalent of stealing, and people still feel like it is not because it is on the internet. It is like taking someones painting and using it as a picture on your work. People ask how they can check if they have stolen anybodies work and this is a question I can answer. With the discovery of turnitin, a site where you can check if your work is one-hundred percent authentic and unique.
How has Social media and the internet affected identity?
#1 Social MEdia
#2 the internet
The internet: It is hard to think of a world without internet, this may just be because I was born into a world with internet but it would just seem wrong to see the world as we know it without internet. People have become so independent on the internet that it has to become part of their identity. The people of this world need the internet now more than they have ever needed it before, it is the drive behind the people and is the glue that links everyone with each other in such a efficient way. It allows communication, commercial product (buying & selling), advertising and much, much more. So how does the internet affect identity you ask? Well just think about what you use the internet for, communication, work the internet is everywhere and is part of everybody's lives. The internet is a place we go to on a regular, unhealthy basis, it’s like a second home we never had. It’s a platform for us to put ourselves out their, our e-identity for the world to see. And that is how I think the internet affects identity, a way to put ourselves on show for the world to see.
In conclusion we believe that the internet has changed the way people perceive identity for all ages. Whether that be kids can now find friends from across the world through a video game or that old friends can come back together via the internet and SMS system. We are all part of the internet thus the internet is part of our identity. The internet does have it's flaws but can easily be solved by educating the upcoming generation about safety on the internet.