Managing your identity across social networks

AnonymousOne of the best sessions at yesterday’s BarCamp Scotland: Kate Ho led a high-traffic discussion about the pain and perils of managing your profile across Facebook, LinkedIn et al.

The key problem is that people have one name and one face but want to present different versions of themselves (aspects? personae?) to different groups. Friends get one picture; family another. Potential employers or investors a third. Now Facebook et al. offer rather detailed privacy settings which can achieve this objective or an approximate version of it. But — the complaint runs — it’s not obvious, not easy.

Tough.

My advice, my pragmatic advice, is that you stop trying to be two different people with the same name and the same face. No matter how many personae you think you have, there’s only one identity that counts. (Hint: it’s the one with the passport.) You only have one reputation. So, try not to do things that you’re ashamed of. Or come out of the closet. Problem solved.

And if you want to have more than one persona — which, I must stress, is a reasonable thing to want — bite the bullet and create one. Give it a different name and wear a fake nose for the photoshoots.

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