"I tried to be normal, but then I stopped being someone else and went on to be me instead" - Stephan Urbach
ISWI 2013 was kicked off with an energetic lecture by the blue haired, “net activist”, politician, and sometimes pony - Stephen Urbach, who is consultant for Knowledge and Information management for the Pirate party in the Berlin Senate. The lecture was titled “Opportunities and Risks of a Virtual Life”.
As a person who has multiple virtual identities he addressed topics such as defining your avatars, on-line and off-line self, and how to make the internet a safer space for minorities.
Urbach advised that if it is not safe to represent yourself online, encouraging to detach the avatar from your name, sex, location as much as possible to avoid being targeted by the state, and others who might not agree with your point of view.
As an active supporter of freedom of speech, he also encouraged the participants to think about how each one of us can actually make a difference by raising our opinion against injustice, hate and discrimination.
He also had much to say about the presence of racists and cyber-bullies on the Internet. He advocated for no tolerance for these movements and stated that the privileged should keep the Internet safe for everyone.
Speaking from his own experience he added, “Your online self is often who you want to be and possibly overtime will become your offline-self”. (FSTB, AV)