Will you ever have just one digital ID?

by Dan Wade, Activation Lead, LockerDome

Despite all efforts to the contrary, the vast majority of Internet users will never form a single digital identity.

 

As early as 2007, the term “digital schizophrenia” was being used to address the idea of a disparity between users’ real lives and the ones they were creating online, though at the time it was used in closer connection with massive multiplayer online role-playing games like Second Life and World of Warcraft. The term itself is problematic not only because it perpetuates a common confusion between two actual psychological diagnoses – schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder (DID) – but also because the lack of a formal definition means it can be used to decry any number of perceived issues having loosely to do with how identity works outside of physical spaces rather than highlighting a specific problem.

 

Within social media, the term is normally used to describe users’ desire to create multiple identities on a single platform or to keep identities restricted within the bounds of one platform rather than using it to authenticate another; e.g. never using Facebook to post a comment on an outside article or preventing Instagram from connecting to Twitter. This is often tied to security or privacy concerns, and while Facebook recently announced plans to address these issues by giving users the ability to authenticate other apps using their Facebook account without giving away personal information, privacy isn’t the only reason users choose not to link accounts.

 

Proponents of a more cohesive online experience laud the ability to move from one site to another without having to log in with different accounts at each stop, viewing a litany of usernames and passwords as vestiges of an era without better choices. As sharing options have gotten more granular on social graph-based platforms like Facebook and Google+ however, there is a near compulsion for people to connect — even if they don’t subsequently share — the disparate parts of their digital life around a single hub. Platforms that already link users with the people they know see the next level of connections not between people, but between their existing users and the other aspects of their digital life.

 

This brings them into conflict with interest-graph based platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, LockerDome, Reddit and others that give their users the choice of whether to connect their identities or leave them more clearly delineated. This is probably the largest misconception surrounding digital schizophrenia: The opposite of a single digital identity isn’t the full anonymity offered by things like Whisper, Secret, or 4chan: it’s simply offering users the choice up front about how interconnected they want their experience to be.

 

This is where an evocative naming scheme and reality come into conflict: While it would be exceptionally difficult to argue against effective treatments for true schizophrenia or DID, digital identities simply do not abide by the same rules. No matter how many sites, apps, portals, and platforms users connect around a single hub, there will always be aspects of users’ real lives they choose to exclude. This process of identity curation inherently produces a digital identity that diverges from the real one.

 

The flexibility of the phrase digital schizophrenia means it’s unlikely to ever leave the tech lexicon, but continuing to give users the freedom to shape their own experience is far more important than eradicating any single term. Even overlooking sharing options at the hub, forcing a unification of a user’s social graph and their interest graph is unlikely to produce the dreamed-of result of a single digital self, and instead simply dissuade users from interacting genuinely either socially or with the things that interest them.

 

 

As the Activation Lead for LockerDome, Dan Wade builds and executes campaigns for brands, media companies, professional sports teams, and a variety of other organizations on top of LockerDome’s swiftly growing platform and highly coveted user base. LockerDome has been called “Facebook on steroids” and a “future Wall Street darling” by MarketWatch, named one of Forbes magazine’s “2013 Sports Names You Need to Know”, and labeled by Adweek as “in the center of the digital revolution.”

 

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to their colleagues followers and the public at large.  In their own words, they address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital.  Unique to cynopsis, Cynsiders lives on the cynopsis.com homepage and is promoted across the daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at kittybowe@cynopsis.com

 

 

 


 

What is Your Preferred Way to Log In to a Website? in LockerDome’s Hangs on LockerDome

Related Stories

10/31/14: ABC’s The View makes a big move; HBO ponies up for a possible season seven of Game of Thrones; Ellen DeGeneres plays nice online

HBO grabs Game of Thrones cast for season seven (Macall B. Polay/HBO)

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS AUDIENCES WATCH THE FIRST DUGGAR DAUGHTER SAY, "I DO" 19 Kids and Counting #1 for the Night with Women TLC’s Most Viewed Telecast in 4 Years TLC #1 Cable Network with All Key Women Demos Catch all-new episodes of 19 Kids And Counting Tuesdays 9|8c Everyone needs a little [...]

10/31/14: Fandango’s ‘Frontrunners’ coming to ‘Access Hollywood,’ MTV announces original YouTube channel, “Braless,” Ellen DeGeneres starts her own video site

Fandango's 'Frontrunners' coming to Access Hollywood

CYNOPSISDIGITAL 10.31.14 Good morning. It’s Friday, October 31, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS   MTV will premiere its first original YouTube channel, MTV Braless, on Nov. 4. The channel will be hosted by YT celeb Laci Green, known for her channel Sex+, which boasts more than [...]

10/31/14: Game 7 drives ‘em in for FOX; NBC Sports Group reups with the Breeders’ Cup; MLS doubles down in LA

Game 7 drives 'em in for FOX

CYNOPSISSPORTS 10.31.14 Good morning. It’s Friday, October 31, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.  Game 7 of the World Series was a blowout for FOX Sports on Wednesday, marking the second Game 7 in the Fall Classic since 2002, and reeling in a Series-high 13.7/23 with 23.5 million viewers tuning in, [...]

10/30/14: Real Estate Network on the drawing board with ESPN exec attached; Netflix offers peek at Marco Polo; Paramount TV and Jerry Bruckheimer tackle American Gigolo

The Real Estate Network to hit the market by 2016

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM WE tv WE tv’s KENDRA ON TOP THE SEASON EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT THE SHOW THAT EVERYONE IS WATCHING OVER 1.5 MILLION VIEWERS TRIPLE DIGIT GROWTH A25-54 AND W25-54 GET A SNEAK PEEK OF TOMORROW’S UNBELIEVABLE EPISODE KENDRA ON TOP  FRIDAYS 9P|8C #KendraOnTop Click here for sourcing CYNOPSIS 10.30.14 [...]

10/30/14: AwesomenessTV’s ‘Richie Rich’ to hit Netflix in 2015, BSkyB invests $7 million in Whistle Sports, Nancy Tellem and Jordan Levin Leave Xbox Studios

AwesomenessTV's 'Richie Rich' to hit Netflix in 2015

CYNOPSISDIGITAL 10.30.14 Good morning. It’s Thursday, October 30, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS   AwesomenessTV’s half-hour comedy series based on a revival of the character Richie Rich will be exclusively available on Netflix starting in early 2015. The 21-episodes series follows the wealthiest kid in the [...]

CynCity

Cynsiders

Instagram