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Networked identity: links, relations and control

Mark Bernstein on what I called networked identity:

Miles assumes that the linked pages are the essence of the blogosphere that they flavor the blog so intensely that they set its key, its tonality. Lilia demurs; I fancy, though, that if Lilia were slashdotted more frequently, the slashdotting would change things. If your blog inscribes your calendar — adding speaking engagements and consulting trips — does it inscribe you? If it inscribes your bank account, does it change who you are?

Wouldn’t say I disagree with Adrian – your network is part of your identity (as said in Russia – “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”). What I wasn’t sure is how far it “writes you” without any of your control over it. Taking Mark’s questions: my blog doesn’t inscribe my calendar or my bank account; sure it takes a role in creating an opportunity, but it’s me making choices which of the opportunities to follow.

Links as relations have at least two parties (more if it’s true hypertext as far as I know :), but links are only indications, not relations themselves. Yes, I don’t have control on links to my weblog. Yes, those links can influence who I am – by creating opportunities for a contact or creating an impression that there is a relation. Yes, my identity is constructed in interactions. But all these doesn’t mean that there is less me in it…

On the top of it – how is this different from the real life? If someone crazy says to be my good friend you may think I’m crazy as well, but normally you would find a way to check it with me first. You would look for some kind of triangulation, some kind of evidence. How much links are different?

Of course, there is a difference. In scale, connectivity, exposure, speed. May be it makes me less in control of my identity, but I still have some 🙂

And – being slashdotted may change who you are – like living through an earthquake :))) Blogging just increases the probability (as moving to Japan does 🙂

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2005/04/21.html#a1557; comments are here.

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