The Online Identity Affair



Does this make me a lesbian? Or just living in a world that isn’t entirely real? I really can’t work this out. Hang on, back up - let me start at the beginning and maybe I’ll have a snowball’s chance of working this whole affair out.

That’s what I’ll call it, in a Man From U.N.C.L.E. kind of way: The Online Identity Affair.

I’ve been on Twitter for a while. And I do like cars. So when I stumbled upon a few role-playing people on said networking platform, and one of them was playing none other than ‘Metallicar’ of ‘Supernatural’ TV show fame, I felt obliged to ‘follow’ them. A bit of surreal flirting, a little ignorance of the fact that, as far as I’m concerned, the Metallicar is female, and lots of fun was had. I have no problem admitting my love (not lust, unless you’re talking for how she sounds) for a female car. That’s fine. Besides, the user behind the obviously fake Twitter ID was male, right? Judging by the replies and the willingness to have a harmless flirt now and again made me believe this.

As it turns out, I was wrong. Said user is female. So am I. This is not what freaks me out. What is a little unsettling is that I still kind of enjoy ‘flirting’ with this user - because, as I justify it to myself, she is still a car who is a character in a TV show. None of this is real.

Or is it?

I run my own user account for Twitter, obviously. I also have two (count them) bots that retweet my favourite show’s targeted hashtags. They do this so that, in the case of the first show, it doubles the tweets and adds more users who follow and connect, and in the case of the second show, proves there is an underground movement of people still watching and wanting to connect via the show we still love. Originally, both accounts were to be completely automated and I would have no input to them whatsoever - just the occasional check that they were running and performing as their Yahoo Pipe instructions were set. But as time has gone on, I have received replies to the bot itself, as other users become curious or simply leave friendly feedback. That’s when you get into multiple ID (and therefore, personality?) territory. Writing as one ‘bot is easy - it’s just me, minus the swear words. Writing replies as the other demands thinking like the character in the TV show. It also involves using different Twitter clients on my iPhone, so that people can see my three different identities accessing Twitter from different software - not the same person in the same location using the same client. That would give the game way, after all.

All this is easy. This is fine. It’s when you throw a totally brand new Twitter ID into the mix that it gets complicated. Yes, folks, I have two perfectly good Twitter usernames - and while everyone knows the original one is actually me, the actual identity of the second one is a closely guarded secret. It’s fun because I can write stuff that people who ‘follow’ me would not stomach - and I can criticise or take the piss out of all kinds of stuff that I wouldn’t normally. It really is fun.

But it calls for yet another Twitter client on my iPhone, and another time zone. Pretending to be someone of a different gender in a pretty much opposite time zone turns you into James Bond as far as checking when and how you tweet goes. And the spelling. And the fun of having to understand how channels work over the pond so you don’t get caught out mentioning you haven’t seen a certain season of a popular show when it’s been aired on their continent.

Still, good times. Which brings me back to my problem: does flirting (albeit online because you’re bored and in need of a Monty Python-esque conversation) with a female character (of a car) who actually does turn out to be female mean you have lesbian tendencies? When you still check all the online photos of your favourite actors, none of which are female? Or does it just mean you like a bit of both?

Answers on a postcard, please.

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1 'aye's:

Four Dinners said...

Dunno about being a lesbian but you certainly sound a bit schizo!!!!

How many split personalities can you have? Maybe you're quadro....;-)

I used to 'sort of' fancy Bowie when I was 14/15. Not exactly in a physical way. More a curiosity way I suppose.

Mind you it's considered not unusual for teenage boys / girls to have 'crushes' on peers.

I discovered girls so early I never had chance to decide which way I should have been swinging!!!...;-)