Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Nobody Knows You're A Dog

It was common to read two decades ago "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog."  It promised a leveling of prejudice, that black and Hispanic people, or maybe women, teenagers, old people - anyone could be judged on their merit, ushering in a new age of colorblindness and acceptance.

It doesn't seem to have worked that way, as people use social media to emphasize rather than disguise their real-life tribes, with people embracing rather than downplaying stereotypes. Or so it seems.  I have no numbers, only impressions, and those are too easily influenced by a few loud voices.  Perhaps we are actually moving to a "content of their character" world because of the internet, just accompanied by a lot of noise and childishness on the way.

But bsking mentioned something in reference to my Underground DSM that I have thought of often but somehow keep forgetting rapidly after: personality disorders may have an outsized audience and sense of support because of the ruckus they can get started on the internet.  Are they disproportionately represented in twitter mobbing? Do they create more unfair and angry memes? Do they swoop in on the helpless more often? I'm guessing yes.

Predators always get the jump, but humans adapt.  How will we stay ahead of these? How will we learn the equivalent of crossing the street before the Troubled Youths arrive?


james said...

Did you try that google tool to figure out what kind of person you were given the blog posts? (age, income, sex, etc)

The internet certainly opens up a new field of victims for the nasty sorts. Most of us skip over the trolls, but that still leaves plenty of vulnerable folks--orders of magnitude more than a troll could reach by letter or telephone pole poster.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I vaguely remember that tool. Could you save me the trouble of thinking hard and give it to me? If you tell me that it's good to do my own work I'll understand.

james said...

Not sure where to find it anymore, but they're confident enough of their algorithms these days to offer a service to "Analyze users by age, gender, and interest categories." I remember looking at the results several years ago and thinking that they at least got my sex right.

jaed said...

I know she carried this on in real life as well, complete with appearance changes, but it occurs to me to wonder whether that woman who "identified" as black and pretended she was black—jobs with black organizations, taught in an African-American Studies department, etc.—whether it would have occurred to her to try that, pre-Internet.