After reading and reviewing other people’s blog posts, it’s clear that what constitutes a separate ‘online identity’ has a subtly different meaning for different people; some took this to mean that if their Facebook and LinkedIn ‘persona’ were different then they had multiple identities. I’d taken a different tack, assuming that an identity was only ‘separate’ when it was fragmented and disconnected (which really can only happen by design).
Both interpretations are valid, but if I’d recognised the different ways the questions was going to be approached then I would have presented a clearer rationale in my original blog.
Given my interpretation of ‘separate’, my blog expressed my reservations about the darker uses of such separate identities – and although no one challenged me directly – it is clear that I’ve been slightly narrow minded – as Nicole Odofin noted, professional bloggers need a private space to avoid their personal identities getting overwhelmed, while Saber Hamidi makes a similar point regarding TV personalities such as Christopher Poole’s TV interview. It is true that I’d be more interested in establishing different identities if I had a more newsworthy life.
That said, I still feel people are too keen to hide rather than exercise common sense – often expecting the law to provide an alternative to acting responsibly. Hence my question to Cheuk Sun, asking whether we are really clear enough about what is right and wrong to be able to legislate. And in similar vein I asked Bartosz Paszcza if he would be proud or ashamed of developing a tool that could hide your online identity.
Bartosz Paszcza also made an entry on my blog, challenging why I’m not more concerned about faceless government employees accessing ‘my’ data. I did have an inward debate when creating the original posting whether to include (and ridicule) such concerns by referencing a YouTube video:
Perhaps, in hindsight I should have included it.