How Facebook Is Killing Your Authenticity

Yet another article bemoaning the uni-dimensionality of Facebook identity – something we have been banging on about for a really long time. I guess there are two potential outcomes for this groundswell of revolt:

  1. A mass (and probably slow) move away from Facebook to a federated and more or less loosely joined set of identities and/or the kind of context-switching functionality we are working on (still) for the Landing.
  2. Facebook waking up to the problem and doing more about it than adding some group functionality

I think both are clearly happening but I fear the second option might be more likely to succeed in the short term than the first. Facebook developers are very smart and I’m certain they have been working hard on the problem for some while. But the last thing the Web needs is centralised control. We need to own our multiple identities and to be free to adopt innovative solutions. Unfortunately, reliance on a central provider reduces our capacity to manage multiple identities (it’s not a technical limitation but Metcalfe’s and Reid’s laws ensure that alternatives have a geometrically dwindling change of success) and constrains innovation in exactly the place it is needed most right now.

Address of the bookmark:

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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