being found by people you were avoiding


Cory Doctorow cites Danah Boyd "All is well until her students sign up and notice that all the friends in her profile are sunburnt, drug-addled techno-pagans" in a very insigthful article about how most SNS have a 'built in' self destruct mechanism...

That is when enough users are on any one SNS (critical mass), it becomes very likely that there are people amongst those users you don't care to (re-)connect with, but who might find/seek you out and demand you befriend them. And once that happens... the only way to avoid this situation is to move on.. Most likely somewhere else.

I've seen this happen in Second Life over and over again.

But wait, I said happen in and not happen to. SL has something that makes moving on possible without acually leaving the platform. Cory says that the whole SNS dies once people move on. In Second Life what happens is that you move on by creating an ALT... and that's the key point here.

The 'identity' you create in SL is an alternative identity to start with... you can as easily start over inside SL by creating a new identity.

And here is where I get a chance to plug PeopleAggregator. Huh? What's PeopleAggregator got to do with Second Life? Nothing as such, but let me explain:

One of the strong visions Marc has been discussing and working on with me and others ever since I came on board (and I assume well before that):

The first thing I ever worked on for Marc back in early '06 was a prorotype UI for a Persona Management tool, that would allow you to edit, route and move profile data, blog posts, friendslists and whatever between the Personas you might have in one account...

Identity systems like Sxip and now OpenID offer something like this (you can have several identities managed in one account and choose which to use when signing up to a service via OpenID etc)...

So why don't we have it in PeopleAggregator yet? That's because PA development is driven and paid for by work for actual paying clients. And paying clients tend to play it safe and just want what The Big One Has... whoever that one is at the time.

So maybe now an awareness of this human tendency is slowly dawning.

Let me close with abother choice quote for Cory's article:

"In the real world, we don't articulate our social networks. Imagine how creepy it would be to wander into a co-worker's cubicle and discover the wall covered with tiny photos of everyone in the office, ranked by "friend" and "foe," with the top eight friends elevated to a small shrine decorated with Post-It roses and hearts."


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