UX Matters just published Anonymous Cowards, Avatars, and the Zeitgeist: Personal Identity in Flux. This is the latest installment of my column on ubiquitous computing and user experience, and it takes on the question of how personal identity is changing is a result of the rise of digital tools, services, and measurements for identity. Identity is a fundamental aspect of experience, so it’s critical that we understand what is happening to this universal element. ‘Anonymous Cowards’ is the first of two parts, focused on understanding how digital identities work, and are different from what we know. Here’s an excerpt:
Driven by dramatic shifts in technology, economics, and media, nothing less than a transformation in the makeup and behavior of our personal identity is at hand—what it is, where it comes from, how it works, who controls it, how people and organizations use and value it. As a direct result of this transformation, the experience people have of personal identity—both their own and the identities of others—is changing rapidly. As designers of the blended digital, social, and material experiences of everyware, we must understand the changing nature of personal identity. And now that humanity itself is within the design horizon, it is especially important for design to understand the shifting experience of digital identity.
The second part will look at the implications of these changes for our experience of identity. As I put together my predictions for what identity will be like in 10 years, I welcome input — what do you think?
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