Identifying the Other

Today I will present my paper, ‘Identifying the other: Unmasking the unnamed blogger using linguistic markers’ (draft will be posted next week) at a student forensic linguistics mini-conference. I have been working on this paper for quite some time and am excited about where the findings are leading me. In this paper, I have made a distinction between pseudonymous blogs and ‘other identity’ blogs. A pseudonymous blog is written by someone under an anonymous identity, who fully admits that his or her identity is secret. an ‘other identity’ blog is one that the blogger writes under an identity that is not his or her ‘true‘ identity and is not disclosed to be ‘other’. I have decided to use the word ‘other’ to remove moral implications that words such as false or fake carry. I also italicize truth because truth is a subjective concept upon a large continuum of experience.

(disclaimer: names have been changed to protect bloggers’ identities)
Jack and Jill

A short summary of my findings. The two bloggers that I compared for markers of identity has a large number of qualitative markers in common; my favorite being the use of ‘teh’, not as a typo of ‘the’, but as a noun modifier. when conducting a more quantitative analysis, however, i got some strange results. For example, both bloggers have a very similar writing style – similar sentence structure and length. But when writings were compared between two texts known to be written by the same person, the writings showed very different writing styles. I am a bit unsure why this is, but it may suggest a certain blog style that goes beyond jargon and conventions and affects sentence structure…a harder thing to fake when writing in the ‘other’. My next step in this process is to compare current findings with random blogs which I know not to be written by either of the blogs in question.

Jack and Jack

(based on this post)