Privacy and trust online is something that is greatly decreasing with the revolution of online technologies and increase in virtual communities.  To be honest, I don’t think there is much privacy on the internet. Of course websites have privacy settings but only to an extent. Although users do choose to keep somethings more private than others, to truly keep things private it is important to keep them off the internet. If there is anything you don’t want people to hear or see, then don’t post it online.

Fortunately, the internet has allowed for virtual communities to thrive. Some people choose to share what might be seen as private experiences and details, in hopes of finding people that can relate to them and connect.  Specifically, there is an online community of people that choose to blog and share details about serious diseases they are going through.  People choose to do this because they might not have support in real life. They may have a support team around them in real life, but maybe they do not know anyone that has gone though something so serious so they reach out to the online community for people that truly understand the struggles. Unfortunately, as read in The Lying Disease, by Cienna Madrid, some people fake diseases over the internet much like they fake their identity.  We have learned and already know how easy it is to fake who you are online. You can be whoever you want to be and often times people feel more comfortable online than in real life.  This type of identity fraud online is something that is being widely talked about and almost impossible to stop. Sometimes people create avatars of who they wish they were and live in virtual worlds that exceed their real life. In this case, people form relationships and friendships with people by pretending to be very very sick. Specifically in this article, a young woman that was truly battling a deadly disease was played by two separate individuals claiming that they were sick. This woman offered her support to them, despite what she was already going through on her own, and even sent them gifts. The article discusses Munchausen syndrome, when people fake illness to attract attention from others, and how this syndrome has now moved to the internet.  The internet has opened the doors to a much easier outlet for Munchausen individuals to use and abuse.  It is much easier to convince online users that you are sick than real life people because online you can SAY that you had a blood transfusion; in real life you need proof. There are always people around you and the sick image is much harder to keep up in real life than online, where you can log on and post an update. It is extremely sad that actual victims of terrible diseases are played by fake people but that is the reality of the internet. It is important for us as users to recognize what we are looking at and who we are interacting with. Because it is so easy to share information, videos, photos, ideas on the internet, it is easy to come across  blog or person that is pretending to be something they are not. There are good people out there online, but my advice is to form and maintain relationships offline with people right in front of you. I am really afraid that soon we will all be falling in love with our online systems, much like in the recent movie “Her”. We need to remember that technology is a tool and to disconnect from it at times.

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