Experiment: Assuming a False Online Identity

So for you of those who do not know, I am teaching a “Sociology of Facebook and Online Social Networks” course at UCLA. Link to my course site: http://sociologyoffacebook.com

Anyways, I assign weekly “experiments” which are to be done online which pertain to the weekly theme. So for this week, it was about the “Online Persona” and how easy it is to assume a false identity. My experiment: Pose as a Japanese Girl.

TLDR; I talk with a Sociologist who wants to travel abroad in Japan, who doesn’t like American culture and prefers the Japanese one. I convince him of my 21-year old Japanese girl identity, living in Tokyo.

(done on Omegle.com — a site that randomly connects you with strangers to chat)

You’re now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!

You: Herro!

Stranger: Hi

You: How you? ^.^”

Stranger: Great. :D

Stranger: What about you?

You: Little tired….. T__T but o.k.

Stranger: Aw.

Stranger: Hard day?

You: Yes… very hard …

You: I had a fight with my boyfriend :(

Stranger: Working? :(

Stranger: :( Never fun.

You: How was your day?

Stranger: Usual. Did nothing. :P

You: Where you live?

Stranger: In the United States……. ehhhhhh.

You: OHHHHHHHHH

You: America????

You: ^_____^

Stranger: Yeahhh.

You: How is America??

Stranger: Living shouldn’t be just sitting around. I thikn that’s something done too often in America.

Stranger: Ehh, it’s alright if you live somewhere where you can do things often. :)

Stranger: How about you, miss?

You: Tokyo! :D

Stranger: Ahhh. I’ll be there in a few months.

You: Ohhhhhhhhh really why??

Stranger: It’s a work-study trip.

Stranger: I plan on teaching English in Japan. :)

You: Ohhhhhhh

You: How exciting!!!

You: How long?

Stranger: This summer? 2 and a half weeks

Stranger: I have a feeling that, deep down, no foreigner is really desired for much longer than that.

You: Whyyyy?

You: We love foreigners :)

You: They bring such rich culture with them

Stranger: Perhaps… but I do not really desire to bring culture

Stranger: I wish to adopt culture

Stranger: I want to throw away what makes me American

Stranger: I dislike it.

Stranger: We’re vile. Rude. INhospitable sometimes.

Stranger: The peopel you meet in Japan, who are foreigners. They are most likely running away from what I am describing…

Stranger: Did you know about the girl who was raped in Japan, by a marine from here?

Stranger: She was murdered.

Stranger: Those kinds of things cannot be overlooked.

You: Oh no…

You: I haven’t heard

You: What happened?

Stranger: I’m not sure. But she was 15 years old. Raped and killed.

Stranger: The man who did it is in prison right now…

Stranger: But they were going to let him off. WHY would you let him off.

You: Why??

Stranger: I do not know.

You: :( (((

You: But not all Americans are bad

You: !

You: You seem very nice :)

Stranger: Yeah. You’re right.

Stranger: I’m probably running for the wrong reasons.

Stranger: I could live here, I could stay.

Stranger: But I don’t want to.

Stranger: Is that okay? Am I allowed to live in Japan? Or… will it be a problem some day

You: No its fine!

You: Maybe you check visa status?

Stranger: I try hard to study and understand/read Japanese… I slowly develop, I understand culture and I am relative. I am a social scientist in college.

You: I’m not exactly sure…

You: Ohhhhhh

You: What major?

Stranger: Social Science, concentration in Sociology

You: Where is your school?

Stranger: My PURPOSE, miss, is to understand cultures all around the world.

Stranger: To live and experience them, and to know why it happens.

Stranger: Why we’re all different.

Stranger: School is in Illinois

Stranger: A state here

Stranger: the University of Illinois

You: Ohhh

You: Sociology sounds like a wonderful major!

You: It is very important to understand different cultures.

You: Sometimes we can get too comfortable with our own culture

You: The world is a big place!

Stranger: Yes. Sometimes it becomes ethnocentric.

Stranger: I feel like

Stranger: I appreciate Japanese culture more

Stranger: I know its negatives. The ups and downs, I understand that.

You: Uh huh.

Stranger: BUt the contrasts between American Society and Japanese society are very …

Stranger: “bright”

Stranger: Differences are big.

Stranger: Where there are differences. There are similarities.

Stranger: But the important things, are all fundamental to me.

Stranger: so I chose to move.

You: I see

You: I have a very good saying for you:

You: “Home is where the heart is”

Stranger: I’ve been preparing this goal for 9 years. I hope I can be good enough for your society.

You: Oh congratulations!

Stranger: Home is where the heart is. I believe that.

You: I went to vacation in Europe in summer too

You: 1 month!!

You: Backpack only trip

Stranger: Oh my goodness. that sounds fine!

You: Very life-changing experience

Stranger: Wonderful.

You: I always think Tokyo so boring

You: Same thing

You: But I always thought Europe was so wonderful

You: Paris, Rome, Venice!

You: So romantic

Stranger: Haha… is it perhaps the places we have never seen, that we are most accustomed to seeing?

You: I read many book and watch many videos

You: Haha yes!

You: But after going to Europe

You: Very beautiful

You: But, I love home more now

You: Traveling is very good for the soul :)

Stranger: You now can appreciate where you are.

You: Yes!

Stranger: You see, contrasting and comparing gives us a very clear view of reality.

Stranger: Now we know where we want to be.

Stranger: This summer, I’ll visit Ashikaga, just north of your place.

Stranger: And I’ll be an hour from Tokyo, yeah.

Stranger: We’ll see if I’m going to live in Japan permanently, this summer…

Stranger: I’ll be able to decide.

You: I will pray for you!

You: Good luck!

Stranger: Thanks. I appreciate that.

You: Anyways Stranger, I have to leave now

You: I loved talking to you!

Stranger: If all I ever know is your name, would you tell me so I can remember you?

You: Good luck on your life journey!

You: My name is Hiromi :)

You: Your name?

Stranger: Thank you, Hiromi. I’m Joe.

You: Nice to talk to you Joe!

Stranger: I’ll remember you.

You: :)