September 29, 2003
It's "Identities" not "Identity"

The Red Herring died, and the piece is not dated so it's impossible to tell when this piece on social tech was from. It argues that the many attempts at social software have two main flaws:

  • Too many incomplete protocols

  • Too much openness and explicitness

As to the first argument: Maybe so, but it is not an interesting problem. If somebody fixes it in an easy and affordable manner, then fine. It clearly has a technological fix.
The second point does not have a technological fix however. The problem with one unique advertised identity is that it corresponds very poorly to our off-line life. Keeping up with acquaintances in the same fashion you keep up with close friends will offend your friends and embarrass your acquaintances (or yourself). The flow of information around a person is much more sophisticated than that.

In a way, the incompatible and incomplete protocols protect us from waking up in such a flat nightmare society where relationships are indistinguishable from one another. Suppose the technical issues above we're fixed. We would immediately require the implementation of new barriers and ways to hide aspects of ourselves from others in particular situations and expose them in others.

Posted by Claus at September 29, 2003 07:01 PM | TrackBack (0)
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