Peak Facebook and the end of monolithic online identity

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Are people rejecting the idea of a single online identity mediated by a large online entity? Stowe Boyd thinks so:

The Benthamite underpinnings of Facebook are becoming unpopular. Young people in particular don’t want their teachers, parents, employers, and even all their friends to know everything going on in their lives. Oh, and the government. People want to have multiple, contextually defined identities, different circles of knowing, different non-overlapping rules of attraction. Everything is not everything.

This, to me, seems the real lesson of teens’ use of social media. They’re seeing the dangers of centralising our online identity through the close-and-present authority figures of teachers and parents. We miss it because our authority figures are more distant. But the NSA are doing a bang-up job of bringing that reality home to us.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.