Friday, May 14, 2010

Identity: Legion is a character defect?

Last February I wrote The Buzz profile problem: I am Legion.

It surprised me that I had to write the post. I thought it was self-evident that adults have many identities. Google's Buzz flop made me realize I was wrong. Obviously a lot of Googlers missed the obvious.

Google may be catching on. Not so Facebook's master - Mark Zuckerberg ...
An Internet Where Everyone Knows You’re a Dog — Crooked Timber

...While searching for evidence of Zuckerberg’s broader philosophy of information, a passage from David Kirkpatrick’s forthcoming book, The Facebook Effect, is quoted:
“You have one identity,” he emphasized three times in a single interview with David Kirkpatrick in his book, “The Facebook Effect.” “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

Zuckerberg is famously young, and famously wealthy. He has not had to grow up; he may never have to grow up.

Adults have complicated lives. Adults have parents, and children and grandchildren, patients and students, employers and colleagues and staff, friends and neighbors. Adults live in a crowded world where wisdom and compassion means muting the self, juggling the complexity of contextual identity. What we used to call, in medical school, being professional.

Zuckerberg is not an adult. I know where he's coming from. As an aspergerish teenager I might have made the same mistake.  He'll likely grow up one day and realize he goofed.

Problem is, we can't wait. He's rich enough that growing up may take a very long time, and for that time he'll be running Facebook.

I'm winding down my Facebook presence; I'll let it die a natural death. If Google or someone else provides a smarter alternative, I'll encourage friends and family to switch.

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