I was over reading Dusan’s blog and a paper linked in its comments that sent me into a little mental spin. Normally I’d just comment at his blog, but quite frankly, I didn’t read all of the stuff there yet and I wanted to hatch a bit of this thought I was formulating about myself. I was just at a conference about newer web-enabling technology of how we deal with information to make it more computable. One thing that struck me there was how many people there seemed to have no qualms about laying out their identities on the web. One guy gave the URL/URI for his RDF FOAF and said “this is me”. I didn’t grok it then and after trying to ponder it for nearly a week, I still don’t get it, especially because he said, “this is not my web page, this is ME”.
Maybe I am paranoid or shy, but I don’t see how a network of all my life needs to be web-enabled for all to surf.
As Pais, I have a blog. No other part of me has a blog, especially one using my real name. When I saw “Virtual worlds don’t exist”, even without reading more than a few pages I remembered how earlier in the day I was backing myself out of FaceBook and LinkedIn because I was getting friend requests, pokes, and other associations that may work well enough with fragments of my self but I didn’t want laid out for all the sniffers, yokels, background checkers, identity thieves, and who knows what else to see.
Then I thought of Pais’ blog, where that fragment of me can talk and share in his own circle, and not have to muddy or be muddied by my other selves. Then I wondered if I should create alts for my work self, my family self, my college buddies self, my various hobbies selves, and so forth. All of these only need be connected to my legal identity when they need be.
These are twisted times for identity. We have an administration that wiretapped the entire country’s phone and email. We have marketers that are profiling our buying tastes and habits. We have people that assume our identities to take our money and property. Why do I want to connect up all the dots? Instead, perhaps I need to diversify my life, my mind, and my identity.
I met a person in SL with dissociative identity disorder. Well, actually I met first one of their personalities in one alt that introduced me to another personality who had another alt. The alts are different sex and age. After meeting “them” and getting to know them both, as well as talking to one of them about their multiple personalities and their RL(s), I pondered about how much I also have partitions of self and identity, although not as dramatic as my friend.
I have come to like being Pais, like an author that publishes some of their stories under a pseudonym to allow them freedom from the restrictions of the rest of their work, splitting off a chunk of identity for a reality partition makes more sense now than ever before to me.