Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Multiple-personalities and making connections

The Ed Techie: Riffability and MPO:
"Of course, many people do this very well at the moment, and some environments (virtual worlds in particular) actively encourage a separation of 'real' identity and online one. My conjecture is that it will become the norm, and take place in more publicly social spaces. And it is likely people won't stop at two identities, but have many. When you add into this that people find you in different spaces and so may have one facet of your personality exaggerated (eg if you follow someone in LastFM but not twitter, you would have a different impression of them), then defining what exactly is 'your identity' becomes increasingly difficult."
As ever, an interesting one from Martin's blog. I understand what he says about the difficulty of understanding your identity from contact from just one account... but I tend to think that that's just life... and is like everyday life generally. We only know people from the particular contact we have with them. Work colleagues. Neighbours. Friends who share a leisure interest. Family. We see that facet of them. In many ways having lots of online versions of you is better because should you want to track down a more complete version. The 'you' who likes taking photos and appears on Flickr. The 'you' who communicates with old school friends on Facebook. The 'you' who connects with professional colleagues on Linked-In. The you who shares resources and snippets of communication on Twitter. This isn't a new thing, it's an old thing in a different space. Are you the same person in the pub with your friends as you are during a committee meeting? Are you the same person chatting about your kids as you are talking about your projects? Nope. The ones who have been able to act and be the 'right' version of them in whichever space they find themselves tend to be the ones who cope best. Online, offline. Real, virtual.

PS I think the more identity-savvy are aware that there is an additional ease of traceability and jigsaw assembly of your online personality than there is your face-to-face one. Maybe it's not the multiplicity of personality which is new or heightened, but is instead the ease of making connections between your multi-faceted life which has changed?
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