I have to admit to having a couple of online identities, well actually four. I participate in online photo sharing networks under a completely different name (how mysterious of me!). Actually, the name I use is in fact a combination of my two middle names but on some other sites, I use fictitious names. Why? Well, partly because of my dislike for being tracked or people knowing too much about me. But also partly because I think you can feel more liberated to make honest comments or adopt a persona that you’d like to “road test” and see how it feels. The internet allows you to ‘play’: flirt with a different ‘you’; be a male instead of a female; pretend to be 18 when you’re in the twilight of your years (no, I don’t do that). You can be as fragmented as you like with multiple identities without being dragged off to the psych ward.
So I found this chart by Fred Cavazza that maps how our digital identities are managed and how the various aspects of our digital lives become taxonomic categories:
Checking out this chart makes me consider I can adopt more digital personas! I don’t dabble, for example, in Second Life (I’ve never really understood the point of it) – but perhaps I should go off and get an island or whatever it is you do on SL and choose an avatar to represent me (what a decision! is there one that looks like Angelina Jolie??).
I see that Dave Pollard has a new blog that chronicles his experiment in creating an Intentional Community in Second Life (never understood this intentional community business either) – perhaps I’ll check it out and experience SL, could be better than Real Life, who knows!