The Problem with One Identity

One of my good friends, Wilfried Schobeiri, wrote me an e-mail a few days ago about a trend in social media. He writes:

I was thinking today about OpenID, Facebook connect, twitter's connect thing, Google, friend feed, etc...Twitter shows my thought process:



(this in regards to how i use facebook for people that dont care about tech things, and twitter for people that only care about tech things)

One of the problems with the current shift towards one identity is that the big players in social networking are assuming that people want to act the same way everywhere they go online. The reality is that people act differently at home, at work, and with their friends.

If we start spamming close friends on Facebook with messages about marketing, they tune us out. If it's not a topic I would talk with a friend about in a normal social situation, then why should we discuss it online? In doing so our communications will feel forced and disingenuous. We end up broadcasting instead of communicating.

Our lives are too big to boil our online activity down to one audience, so why should we only have one identity? I have people in my life who don't care one iota about marketing and others who tweet into the early morning about their latest strategies. So, what should I do? Well, I don't plan on integrating my life into one big Friend Feed any time soon, that's for sure. Do you?

Written by Chris Allison on June 25, 2009


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Chris Allison