Musing about Identity online – in which I talk about people as cartoon figures, but only at the end

This is going to be a bit disjointed, apologies in advance.

I was thinking about identity online this morning (In part because a friend posted a comment which made me think their account had been hijacked).

We rely so much on that little icon to tell us who’s who – or the name at the top of the chat window. And, while I could probably imitate with some success the typing voices of my top 5 online friends, there is still a matter of trust – that when I’m talking in the comments to, say, Kelkyag, that it is actually the same person every time.

I get ~freaked out~ when I find out someone is talking to me on someone else’s account. It’s like… they put on a Friend One suit. At first, Friend One is just acting a bit strangely. Then, Friend One says something out of character, and by this point I’m starting to panic. Then Friend One says Ah ha ha ha no, this is Friend Two (Or Friend Ones’s Girlfriend)…

…and I get furious.

But *cough* that could just be me.

How do you deal with identity when your “mental image” of the person comes from a cartoon icon?

(Speaking of which, I’ve MET @inventrix in person, & I still picture her as her icon (not @capriox, though :-P).)

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0 thoughts on “Musing about Identity online – in which I talk about people as cartoon figures, but only at the end

  1. (Hob) It’s part of why i get freaked a bit when you guys change icons. It’s like you ripped your face off and replaced it.

  2. I always find it feels really odd if a blog has a guess blogger and their don’t either give the guest blogger their own account so the posts show their name or at least show the guest’s post as quoted text. A few years back I missed an announcement that one blog was going to have a guest blogger and it took my a month to figure out why some of the posts seemed to have contradictory comments about what they were up to.

  3. ’tis perhaps not all the way to panicky or furious, but I am certainly sad and confused when someone does that to me without at least leading off with “this is so-and-so”. Multiple people using the same icon also confuses me, though I’m sort of used to that and have some icons written off as not useful. ;} This is why all the icons I use regularly are either my photos, or of me, or were made for and/or by me (and of those, there are three I don’t use much partly because they’re ones where other folks may/do have similar pieces), or clips from artwork I own and have some attachment to the characters in (which I guess technically I made into icons?) Even the ones where someone else might have similar I’d be surprised to see someone using the exact same thing.

      • That’s my signature! 🙂 I would be very, very confused if someone else used any of those. But the bright-cheery-colors version seemed wrong when I was commenting on something not-so-happy, so I made the blue-on-grey, and then sometimes neither of those seemed like the right tone and I eventually started using a few others … but I don’t have very many, and only use about five of them regularly, so hopefully it’s not too confusing? was my first icon, which made for me from In The Night Kitchen, and I stayed with the yellow-and-blue for my primary icon, but I would be not at all surprised if other people had Night Kitchen icons (though I can’t think that I’ve seen one?), so I don’t use that one much anymore. The icons from and tektek don’t get much use for similar reasons.

        • Aah, I remember that one, and yeah, it’s the Kelkyag triangle-that-isn’t, and that’s you. I can’t recall another Night Kitchen icon. This was my first icon, for this account, I think.

          • Kitteh! That one I recognize as one of your icons, rather than parsing it as you the way I do the one with the knitting and ears and horns, if that makes sense? That you remember the night kitchen icon surprises me a little. It’s been out of use for quite a while!

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