Dr. Jeremy Birnholtz joined ISGMH on April 10th to present the first lecture in the Social Media Working Group (SMWG) lecture series.
In his talk titled “Remember When Nobody Knew You Were a Dog? Anonymity, Identity and Location in Online Social Environments,” Dr. Birnholtz discussed his past and present work regarding identity and social media. His lecture explored the balance of risks and benefits of social media use that users weigh. Dr. Birnholtz reported on several recent studies of activity on Facebook, Instagram and Grindr that explore how location-awareness and interacting with local and distant strangers affects the nature of our interactions and self-presentation. His results suggest that people may feel more free to discuss sensitive topics or explore stigmatized identities when anonymous, but also that being local increases their concerns about being recognized by others.