I keep struggling to come up with an idea/theory/definition of identity that will be useful when thinking about new communication, online communities and the new influencer. So far, I have a bunch of elements but am trying to find good ways of connecting them or explaining their relationship.Here’s what I have so far:
- Identity – this is the combination of how you present yourself and how you are perceived. This doesn’t need to be the same as your identity in the real world and in can be anonymous.
- Presentation – this is how one choses to present themselves. Our online presentations can change according to the community, our needs or when our mood. Because presentation is a core part of identity though, the impact of presentation needs to be considered.
- Perception (or reputation) – this is how others see and report on your and it may play a bigger role in determining identity than presentation.
- Transparency – needs to be factored in to both presentation and perception. In both cases how honest one is being is important. Is there an agenda in the comments one makes, the opinions being expressed or the feedback being provided? In every case – consciously or not – there is and the more information one can provide up front the easier it is to factor those things into accessing the presentation and perception when interacting with someone’s identity.
- Persistence – is also a really important element but a tough one to manage. I am who I am and want my identity – regardless of what it is called – to travel with me online. While I may present myself differently (different user name, different focus, etc.) I’d like people to have a sense of who I am and what others think of me wherever I am.
Because there is no editorial structure for social media, the issues of transparency and persistence are especially important in building and maintaining trust and validity over time. How these things will play out will be interesting to watch. Whatever happens, I hope that the elements described above play some role in how we evaluate online information and opinion and the people behind it.
As I’ve said, these ideas are rudimentary and I’m continuing to have conversations and interactions that I hope will help me develop them.
Does any of this make any sense?
[tags]Identity, Perception, Reputation, Transparency, Persistence, New Communication, New Influencer, SNCR[/tags]