multitudes of who you can be online

Something that I think about a lot is identity. That’s probably not surprising considering how much my own grows and changes every time I self-reflect. I’ve had an idea for a book or some project focusing on the intersection of online and IRL identity formation for a long time, and it’s an idea that keeps popping back up, waiting for me to finally attempt it.

Yesterday I read a Wired article about customizing your avatar. Not really a lot of new ground there; making an avatar can be a source of creativity, self exploration, gender euphoria, or just curiosity. It’s an updated version of this 2014 Kotaku piece by Nathan Grayson, who is grasping for language that he doesn’t have around nonbinary identities. Slightly more nuanced than “Man Poses as Woman on Online Dating Site; Barely Lasts Two Hours” at least.

A few weeks ago I shared a Picrew story and link because it’s one of those easy character creators that lets you try things out without being overly complicated and not requiring an attached game to then play through.

Exploring identities online and via games is nice, but what respect do we owe to our creations when we’ve grown tired of them? Should we abuse them like so many Sims? Should we revisit them decades later, reminding ourselves of questionable youthful naming and design decisions? Or maybe go even further and think of how these characters that mean so much to us can live on past us, even being bequeathed to heirs.

Sometimes I enjoy the act of character creation and embodiment more than the play of the game. It’s not just making a prettier version of myself; it’s trying out new forms of expression.


Fraud on the Farm: How a baby-faced CEO turned a Farmville clone into a massive Ponzi scheme – Paul Benjamin Osterlund, Rest of World

At this point I don’t trust anything that gives me money for bringing others into the fold.

The Lies The Olympics Tells About Itself Have Never Rung More False – Yuichi Yamazaki, Defector

Just please please start ignoring it finally. That’s the only way to get it to go away.

The FTC Votes Unanimously to Enforce Right to Repair – Lauren Goode, Wired

While this doesn’t solve every problem or immediately make everything legal (dropping DRM support would certainly help), it at least signals that the new FTC has a pro-consumer position.

The Inevitable Weaponization of App Data Is Here – Joseph Cox, Vice

As stories like these become more commonplace, I would hope that we as consumers push back against data brokers being allowed unfettered access to all of our information. But the cynical side of me doubts this.

Is Social Media Making Us … Better People? – Laurence Scott, Wired

I think this is more a demonstration of people who want to be better finding workarounds that social media platforms don’t natively offer. Things like content and trigger warnings are nice, but unlike say, Mastodon, most apps don’t have a way to actually hide content until actively engaged.

Here’s why everyone is calling hot men ‘breedable’ this summer – Morgan Sung, Mashable

It’s because gay culture exists.

tweet by @earthdistance that reads

Bourdain: Wow. This meat is so tender and juicy. Falls right off the massive bone in the middle 
Flamedramon: This is what we digimon eat every day
Bourdain: God you’re lucky


I Made A $101 Fried Chicken For Keith From The Try Guys β€’ Dish Granted

Warning: this video will make you crave fried chicken HARD

El SilbΓ³n: The Deadly Whistler of the South American Grasslands| Monstrum

This is one of those monsters that doesn’t fit into the morality tale structure that I’m so used to seeing. He’s just bad because he can be, and there’s nothing that you can do about it.


Episode 65: Kunihiko Ikuhara w Proxy – Commune College

It figures that if anyone could convince me to give an anime a try, it would be Proxy πŸ˜‚

How The Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax with Jesse Eisinger – Factually! with Adam Conover

Following up on the ProPublica article that shows something that we all kinda suspected but didn’t have proof of, Adam and Jesse talk about the why of the problem, and some ways that it could be fixed.

If you made it this far, why not share this newsletter with a friend? Or share with me some of the things that you found that you liked this week. Either way, I’m thrilled!