Twitter and Alter Ego Identity

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Nowadays millennials are inclined with social media through the help of technology. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. are some of the examples, these applications are commonly used by the people right now. With this, people can create new identity.

Twitter is one of the popular social media applications that used by many. It gives 140-characters to express opinions and thoughts over the timeline. Most people use twitter to release stress and to share their moments to their followers. Due to the flexibility of the Twitter, others use it as a source of news and information. According to Sameer, Twitter is free from advertisement and its interface is very handy to use. On Twitter, you want only to follow people to get updates, news, tweet, re-tweet and messages.

However, no matter how twitter is flexible it still comes with disadvantage. Most of twitter accounts are fake which are made to cheat and harass someone (Sameer, n.d.).

In the Philippines, there is this underground community on Twitter, which are commonly used by male bisexuals, gays, and closeted gays to create new identity. For some people they did not know about this underground world on Twitter that are spreading among LGBT community.

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Alter ego world is the name of the underground community on Twitter. People create an alter account to use it as their secondary account to make new identity. An identity that no one knows them, to express their true selves without the fear of judgment.

In this blog, we are going to understand the culture of alter ego world. The reasons why they create an alter account and to break the common stereotype of the people in alter world that this community is only for sex and pleasure.

Alter World Timeline

Alter accounts. They are the answer to the decades-old question, “Anongpangalanmosagabi?” Think racy display pictures with stickers slapped onto where the faces should be, provocative Twitter handles, and a bit of nudity. (Punongbayan, 2017) In the Philippines, there are a few lesbian and bisexual alter accounts. The alter accounts are most popular among gay and closeted men.

Gay and closeted men alter accounts are more sexually open than lesbians and bisexuals. Lesbian and bisexual alter accounts make alter accounts because of emotional support through social media. They encourage and inspire one another to be themselves and helps the community to grow and be more confident.Also, some of the people who made the lesbian and bisexual alter accounts are not out about their gender.

In relation to lesbian and bisexual alter accounts, some of the gay and closeted men alter accounts are not out about their gender. This is the reason why they cover their faces or only half body in their profile pictures. They want to protect their identities because other people might be shocked that they join these type of accounts. Masculinity is one of the factors affecting why they hide their faces and show off their bodies.

“Masculinity is properly defined as an aspirational and normative style of being and living as a natural-born man that a critical mass of the members of that population applaud. Masculinity may evolve over time and diverge within cultures, but there are trans-historical and trans-cultural aspects that any reasonable man can realistically point to through comparison using adverbs. It is not a phenomenon insofar as non-heterosexual males make the same denotations in whatever argot and the interactions between heredity and environment out of which the phenomenon of masculinity arises are visible in mass popular culture. When “masculine” is applied to women, the term denotes mannish features (or severe unattractiveness). That is not masculinity.” according to the Urban Dictionary.

As explained above, there is an issue between masculine and masculinity. Those who joined the alter accounts can be masculine. They are not part of norm of masculinity. It is a quality of manliness. This involves habits and traits that society considers to be appropriate for a man. A non-homosexual man joining alter accounts is inappropriate. This is the reason why they cover their faces. But, showing off their bodies is a quality of manliness. They show their bodies instead of their faces.

Interaction with Alter Users

Our group have observed that not all alter guys are directly to the point, most of them start the conversation by just simply asking some of the personal information like  “kamusta?”, “anong year mo na?”, etc. However, small talks can lead to something intimate, like exchanging naked photos and sometimes it can be a root of meet-ups.

But some users made an alter just to create an identity to express their true selves and find companion who will understand what they are going through.

Here are some of the conversation that we had with alter guys. Usersasked me about my personal information and how is my life going.

Alter Guy#1

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Alter Guy#2

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Alter Guy#3

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We have noticed that alter guys usually start the conversation by asking “what’s up” or “kamusta” and leads to their follow up questions like “ano hanap mo?”

Users asked me why I’m here in alter and if I want to meet them.

Alter Guy#1

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Alter Guy#2

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After observing on what kind of culture does alter world have, We adapted to their community and start to ask questions in an alter person way.

First, I asked them what are their reasons for creating an alter account and my follow-up question was “how’s alter so far?”

These are the answers.

Alter Guy#1

 

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Alter Guy#2

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Alter Guy#3

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Alter Guy#5

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Based from them, they said alter is not just for a porn or sexual pleasure, but it has deeper reasons.

One, it is a form of escape from the reality, maybe they cannot act what they want in reality so they decided to create an alter to find a community that really accepts them for what they are.

Second, they think it’s a safe environment for them, because in alter no one knows your true identity and they can do whatever they want without the fear of judgment and discrimination.

Lastly, they made an alter just to satisfy their sexual needs by viewing someone’s jacking off video or two guys having sex.

In addition to that, I asked them if they post sensitive media and what do they think the reasons for posting such sensual stuff.

Alter Guy#1

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Alter Guy#2: He is famous in alter from posting such sensitive media.

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Alter Guy#3

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Based from these three alter dudes, their answers might be one of the common reasons why alter people post sensitive media.

Some of them use alter to gain fame by posting uncensored videos or pictures. According to the one person that I have asked, he said it’s a form of release while remaining safe and anonymous. One of them said alter is pleasure, so maybe by posting these kind of stuff, they make the pleasure of the people satisfied.

Thus, searching for fuck buddies could be one of the reasons. By posting those sensual pictures or videos, they can attract or arouse people who have their same needs, like having sex and being laid.

Others like this alter guy#3 does not post anything, he wants live, cam-to-cam through the help of Skype. Maybe it gives him more pleasure and more realistic than watching somebody else’s video. When you are having a cam to cam, there is a real communication you can hear the voice of the person you are talking to, you can command them what to do on-cam based from whatever you want. The concept of cybersex falls in this kind of situation.

Lastly for my third main question. Do they send their face pictures like their real identity? What are their reasons for sending their picture knowing that alter ego is for the people who hides their identity?

Alter Guy#1

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Alter Guy#2

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Alter Guy#3

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Those were some of the users’ answers about my question. 13 out of 15 people said that they were not comfortable of sending pictures, because it is for their own protection and safety. Some alter user has a reputation and big name in real life.

Furthermore, their follow-up answer was somehow similar to the answer in my first main question, which is what are their reasons for creating an alter and they said that they don’t send face pictures, because first they made an alter to create a new identity, so that they can do whatever they want. Lastly if someone knows that they have an alter account the immediate thinking of the people to them would be, they are into sexually act and hookups.The common stereotype of the people to the alter users was they are sexually inclined, and their community revolves around only in pleasure and sex.Maybe it’s true for some people because when you enter in alter community there are a lot of sensual stuff that you may see at first.

However, if you look into deeper understanding you would notice that some of the users create an alter account to shade their identity and to escape from reality. People have different personalities and problems to escape with. For them, creating an alter ego is one of their form of escape. Social media allows people to escape the world, and to enter an alternate make-believe sphere of their own desire. Moreover, they can choose to portray a particular representation of their selves that is not necessarily congruous with reality (Laura, 2011).

Based from our observation and participant discussion. Most of them made an alter for sexual pleasure, to satisfy their sexual needs and to benefit their audience of their sensitive photos and videos.

Some of them is just for out of curiosity, they want to explore the world of alter ego but later on, this kind of exploration can lead to sexual desires they feel the pressure or the envies of posting such kind of sensitive media.So for them to be able to accept in alter community they must post sensual stuff.

Others did not believe in this kind of cliché they made an alter just to find new friends and meet new people only. People in alter world are decent and kind, but we cannot avoid that some people in alter world are always into pleasure and sex. Nevertheless, according to some alter users it’s up to them if they want to make out with those guys or not. Life is a choice, as they say.

 

Conclusion

A theory that can be applied for alter accounts is Symbolic Interaction. Symbolic Interaction believed that human beings are best understood in a practical, interactive relation to their environment.

According to the University of Twente, the theory consists of three core principles: meaning, language and thought. These core principles lead to conclusions about the creation of a person’s self and socialization into a larger community (Griffin, 1997).

Meaning states that humans act toward people and things according to the meanings that give to those people or things. Symbolic Interaction holds the principal of meaning to be the central aspect of human behavior. Alter accounts trigger the human behavior of a person because of the different sensual media posted. From a normal human behavior, they start browsing their timeline. They get aroused with the type of media shown in their timeline. Now, the arousal becomes the central aspect of human behavior.

Language gives humans a means by which to negotiate meaning through symbols. The symbols in the alter accounts are the different forms of sensual media. They would not get triggered if they did not post these in their accounts. They are negotiating the arousal in behavior through the sensual media.

Thought modifies each individual’s interpretation of symbols. Thought is a mental conversation that requires different points of view. Interviewing different alter accounts and observing them is enough thought. They have different perspectives and respecting them is a must.

With these three elements the concept of the self can be framed. People use ‘the looking-glass self’: they take the role of the other, imagining how we look to another person. The self is a function of language, without talk there would be no self concept. People are part of a community, where our generalized other is the sum total of responses and expectations that we pick up from the people around us. We naturally give more weight to the views of significant others.

REFERENCES

Laura, H. (2011). Social Media; Keeping Us Connected or Escaping Reality?

Retrieved from https://doyouseewhatic.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/social-media-keeping-us-connected-or-escaping-reality/

Punongbayan, S. (2017, June 10). ROUNTABLE: Alter nation. Retrieved July 10, 2017, from

http://www.philstar.com/supreme/2017/06/10/1708381/roundtable-alter-nation

  1. (2013, September 16). Where are most porn scenes shot? Retrieved July 11, 2017, from

https://www.quora.com/Where-are-most-porn-scenes-shot

Definition of Masculinity. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Masculinity

Definition of Pseudonym. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/pseudonym

University of Twente. (n.d.). Interpersonal Communication and Relations | Symbolic

Interactionism. Retrieved July 11, 2017, from https://www.utwente.nl/en/bms/communication-theories/sorted-by-cluster/Interpersonal%20Communication%20and%20Relations/Symbolic_Interactionism/

Sameer (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Twitter. Retrieved from http://www.muchtech.org/2014/04/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-twitter.html