old personas fading into the sunset…

One thing I have been pondering for some time is how to let old personas die. (or at least fade?)  Ever since my crass usenet jokes in college made it on the web in ’96.

I think the most frequent thing my generation talks about (in regards to social media) is how grateful they are that Facebook etc didn’t exist when they were in college. (Course I like to remind them old photos can be scanned in and uploaded… So nothing is perfect here.  I am talking some general constructs.)

But the new generations do have to deal with a more prevalent problem… Remember that time you got so drunk you passed out and your friends decided it would be fun to draw a mustache on you.  Those precious moments in time can now live forever and ever.  They can also be easily accessible. Maybe they are googlable by a potential boss or your mom.  Also let’s not forget Credit Card companies and scoring agencies are also thinking of data mining social behavioral data to determine risk… so some real implications beyond social could impact you in the future.

Some of that is out of your control (esp when your “friend” that I say isn’t really a friend uploads it to facebook and tags you.)  I can’t fix that problem but maybe though mutual data ownership and verification might help in the future.

In the old days, you could move to a new place and start again.  Now, you can’t…  it is too prevalent and easy to find ESP if you have a unique name – like Silona for example.  John Doe – don’t think you are safe Mister!  With the new social graphing tools… I can figure out you are JohnDoe78731 you are 37 yrs old w two cats!  Just takes a little more digging is all.  And don’t think that cute blonde’s dad isn’t willing to make that effort!

I think some data should have a time limit.  It was something Mark Bergman and I were discussing the other day.  He envisions a beautifully geeky way to let data expire.  It isn’t perfect of course.  People can always take pictures etc.  But the validation mechanism – (that shared data part) that makes it valuable and citable could expire and possibly lock it up.  I mean sometimes the internet is kind and does that for us anyways (bye bye ugly geocities site.)  But wouldn’t it be nicer that it happened based on a default setting YOU SET?  Especially on some sites where you have a certain expectation of privacy (ahem facebook? remember when it was college students only – so drunken pics are “fine”?)

I know it’s too late for some things but sure it couldn’t hurt…  give you the option to unlock things and allow them to live on if you so choose?

It something to ponder and Mark – I hope you do develop it further :-)  esp for dating sites – cause I think there is a GOOD business model there :-)