We present ourselves differently in different contexts,
and that's key to our creativity and self-expression.
"It's not 'who you share with,' it's 'who you share as,'"
Poole told us. "Identity is prismatic."
Where it becomes tricky is when one is strips away the context isolation. For example, at your friend's bachelor party, some behavior might perfectly normative within context and participants, but the next day when people outside of that context can watch a video of your behavior - you might feel a little shame/embarrassment/regret/etc.
The internet, for better or worse, allows a complete breakdown of context isolation. While the rules of posting on 4chan or HN greatly differ, a person adhering to rules of a given context, will still be judged across both contexts by outside viewers.
The solution here is to create context isolation - which is very easy to do with anonymity.
Not the best solution. I in fact has been saying the illusion that people are perfect is fundamentally flawed for a while now.
moot also made another very good point about total anonymity once before: the reason 4chan (and by extension, other image boards) became such a success is because there is no personal cost of failure, which allowed almost boundless creativity - which is why most of the internet knows 4chan mainly as a meme-generator.
But my point wasn't that "it's an original thought that he's had and no one has ever considered it before!" just "I was ignorant of this exact problem until it was pointed out to me. Then it became evident."
But, maybe I'm just reading that as a little more antagonistic than intended.
ShawnJG 1 minute ago | link [dead]
I agree completely. It does seem really obvious now. But anyone who's had a pre-Google/Facebook online life remembers that you had different handles for diff sites. My aol name was not the same as my underground name, wasn't the same as my regular email name. At first what seemed like a good idea, "mirroring" yourself online as Poole puts it became the bane of people who were diverse in their online dealings. But I look at Google and Facebook as the "establishment internet", there for the masses. And for most people that is fine, they rarely stray from these walled off gardens. But there are still options to be as diverse or "prisimatic" as you please if you look for them.
I like that Google+ made some efforts to let you keep those lives separate through Circles, which prompted Facebook to make their lists more prominent, but I still prefer to have multiple identities.
I acknowledge that with a little work you could probably connect all my identities together, but I'd rather not make it obvious to the casual observer. Let's keep honest people honest.
1. It seems similar or at least parallel to something I wrote about needing new metaphors for social networking: http://blog.byjoemoon.com/post/7072771434/a-new-metaphor-for...
2. We need our social networking software to give us better representations of social context, and good representations of that context through UI.
3. Maybe it's the case that the different services will evolve into different contexts, with a different service for every context? I.e. Twitter for shouting pithy aphorisms into the public void, G+ for conversing about nerdy stuff, HN for conversing about even nerdier stuff, LinkedIn for marketers to market to each other about marketing jobs, and FB for farming?
But today, the web has become so ubiquitous with the real world that I know I now have to play the game. It has taken me a long time to realize this, and I still don't feel comfortable with it.
Isn't this pretty much exactly what Google+ tries to reflect with circles? It almost sounds to me like the marketing speak they had going when the product first came out.
Besides, it's a very bad idea to leave identity management in the hands of a third party anyways, and the last third party I'd trust with my identities are Google and Facebook. Call me paranoid all you want, but identities are something you manage yourself - nobody should be trusted doing it for you.