Your digital identity

Right now, people are in a war over how you are going to create your online identity to travel through the halls of the great and wonderful interweb.  The main players right now are OpenId and Facebook Connect.  

It might not seem like a big deal, but if you think about the digital trail of breadcrumbs that you leave when wandering the cyber halls of tomorrow and who eats up those breadcrumbs, it becomes apparent that there is a lot at stake.  

In order to really understand what is going on, try to imagine the internet as a big Virtual World (a little more encompassing than Second Life), and before you can travel through the world, you have to make a little avatar.  Right now, OpenId and Facebook Connect are the two major forces in this field.  If you go to Twitter and start your little micro blogging (“Fred Meyer has bananas for 79 cents!”), you can sign in using your Facebook account.  Which is great for Facebook.  All those little breadcrumbs (filled with nasty little bits of info like shopping habits, demographic statistics, etc.) now will get fed back into the Facebook machine and your advertisement banners that you see will be more accurately directed at you.

This all sounds fine and dandy (especially if you are paying for advertisements – now you know that only people who would care about your product are actually seeing little things about it), but what does that do to the consumer?  

Only time will tell, I guess.

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3 thoughts on “Your digital identity

  1. It means consumers are more likely to see advertisements for things they might actually buy rather than random ads, but it also means consumers are more likely to spend money … And depending on who you are, that could be a good or a bad thing.

  2. What does this do to consumer privacy? Is there such a thing anymore? It’s like the Safeway Club Card on steroids. Maybe it doesn’t really matter if they know what brand of cat litter I prefer, but there is still something suspiciously Orwellian about being watched in this way. Or is this just paranoid superstition talking?

  3. I tell you what it does: if you want to go out and take part in the charade in the interweb, there are some nice and insipid ways for The Man to find you and tell you what to buy. Both cynical and paranoid – that’s the reality of tomorrow.

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