Multiple personas (people and businesses)

I believe we should have the ability to have multiple personas on the internet.

Who am I?  is an incredibly complex question… one that philosophers have trouble answering.  What hubris allows us to think that we can create some simple core identity view that will express it all.  It is impossible.  We change we evolve.  We have diverse reactions to different contexts.  We express often what sociologists call “deceptive” practices.

The funny thing here is some of the time that “deception” sociologically speaking is actually good – since it shows us as evolved past animalistic urges.  And yes don’t even get me started on how stupid I think that loaded terminology is.  And what it expresses to me about sociology’s self absorption to use such a loaded term.  but I digress…

I view us as complex beings that scatter little pieces of ourselves around the universe.  Different people have different interpretations (sometimes loaded by their own biases and insecurities.)  Those interpretations is a child of our interactions.  Yes both contribute – it is the way our brains work.  Paying attention itself is a filtering process.  We interpret everything we notice. We make that data our own by subtly changing it through our cognition process somehow – think of the game “telephone.”

We change our personal internal identity story just like that game of telephone.  Memory is not exact.  We change.  Our personas change.  Hopefully, we evolve (though I know some that devolved.)  We need the net to be just as flexible for growth to occur.  There is a reason young people switch social networks often… they are forming themselves and often welcome the opportunity to shed “friends” in a socially acceptable way.  They want to reinvent their personas.  many have multiple persona on the same network.  And they are certainly nervous about Great Aunt Bertha joining facebook and seeing aspects of their persona that they certainly aren’t that ashamed of (or else they wouldn’t have posted) but certainly don’t want seen out of context.  As I like to say we all know Silona wears a bikini but a google search puts Silona in a bikini at the office.

I like the think of these little pieces of us that we shed around the interwebs as being little lego pieces.  I want to be able to assemble those little lego pieces as I see fit to create diverse personas.  I want a “Silona open Gov persona” that I could assemble from my ACLU, EFF memberships, my past and present directorships on TANO and EFF-Austin, my founder of LOTV status, my past jobs on LinkedIn, etc.  I do not want my livejournal with my lovelife posts that I locked to be friends only.

I DO NOT want to be forced to merge all my shards of persona and be taken out of context.  I want to decide what each lego persona I create looks like.  Now because data is shared, I don’t have complete control over what every lego looks like.  And someone else can certainly go out there and create a drunken/dorky picture high drama lego person out of me if they choose. Though you know the parent SN could prevent that if they want since they also own the data… hint hint this becomes important later.

Forced merging of personas is both of sociological and security nightmare for me.  Sorry but I don’t complete trust all those groups in regards to merging my data (actually our data but data that isn’t completely THEIRS either.)  I mean look at the big oopsie facebook did with Beacon and they had nothing but the best intentions of helping (and making a buck – who can blame them.)

And to be honest… businesses aren’t going to like that forced merging either.  If other groups, businesses and social nets also become participants, they won’t play in the forced merger world.  So I ask for another perspective from the Developers out there…  Ok so the individual doesn’t matter as much to you… but if you think about it groups and businesses would also like similar methods of control.  Many would like to be brokers of a lego but also want a bit of control in regards to how that lego is used with “OUR” data.  Does that help integrate it better into your business model?

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