?

Log in

No account? Create an account
A neighbourhood of voluntary spies - The Ex-Communicator

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile

May 16th, 2010


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
07:35 am - A neighbourhood of voluntary spies
Hopefully if the weather is OK we are going to go on a big walk today, from Warwick to central Birmingham along the Grand Union canal. It's a bit hard to tell at the moment if the rain is coming.

Crooked Timber has one or two posts discussing this comment by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, justifying his privacy-dismantling ways:
“You have one identity... The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”
Kieran Healy disagrees: 'Having one identity is a breaching experiment'. That is, you might as a psychological test of yourself and others, attempt to behave invariantly amongst your many social audiences, but it would be perceived as provocative and aggressive.
Having an identity and having a secret are in fact quite closely related, and not just for superheroes.
And in a related post Henry adds:
one of the things I like about the Internets is that I can present myself in different ways. This isn’t the result of a lack of integrity – you need to present different ‘selves’ if you want to engage in different kinds of dialogue.
I think a certain amount of protection from the curiosity of our neighbours is necessary in order to allow people to be themselves. I am reminded of Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey:
"Remember that we are English.... where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open. Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?"
Austen presents this ambiguously. The oversight of others both protects and oppresses us.

(22 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:sheenaghpugh
Date:May 16th, 2010 07:24 am (UTC)
(Link)
Zuckerberg speaketh utter baloney. I have had at least two identities since I started publishing, viz. my writing name and my married name. At the school gate I was also known as "X and Y's mother". Unusually enough, I think is partly a male/female thing. Men never change their name on marriage (or hardly ever) and tend not to be known as someone's husband or father, ie in relation to others. Maybe they aren't as conscious of multiple IDs.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2010 07:28 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, I think the conclusion is that he shows himself to be an utter jerk, without much empathy. Apparently Zuckerberg got started on the net by illicitly linking to photos of his fellow students, and setting up a site where you could rank the ladies as 'hot or not'. This is not a person over-hampered by an excess of human warmth.
[User Picture]
From:julesjones
Date:May 16th, 2010 07:59 am (UTC)
(Link)
The more I read about that man, the more inclined I am to the view that he's a sociopath, and yes, I do mean that in the technical sense and not as an insult.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:04 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, I think that too
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
(Link)
I want to quote a contrary opinion expressed by Tim Lacy on the second CT thread I linked to, because it is so well expressed, and thought provoking:
What if all of “our” fears ... are precisely the opposite of why Facebook might fail? .... might it be the case that Facebook fails because it can’t deliver on its “promise” ...to collapse, or unify, our identities?

Take, for instance, comment flaming and out-of-control comment sections. To me, they seem indicative of people’s frustration with not being able to express themselves fully.

... And this inability to communicate ourselves—-via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or even in standard paper letters—-is ultimately based on our ability, as a society and world, to educate ourselves and our youth to read and write properly. All communication media are inherently limited by our education deficiencies.
[User Picture]
From:white_hart
Date:May 16th, 2010 07:57 am (UTC)
(Link)
That sounds like a lovely walk - I hope the weather stays fine for you.

And Zuckerberg is an idiot, or possibly really scary. Or possibly just totally clueless, socially speaking - does he not realise how many different personas the average person presents in the course of their daily life?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC)
(Link)
I think I'm going to risk it - H just eating sausages to sustain himself for the journey.

As with all libertarians he hardly notices people who aren't rich white men with identical views to himself
[User Picture]
From:archbishopm
Date:May 16th, 2010 07:58 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'm sure Mr. Mark there felt all morally superior when he freely admitted to being a chick on WoW and watched the chat instantly switch to speculations on how hideously ugly he must be or he'd surely be making a pie for some dude instead of killing pirates online ps show us your tits.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC)
(Link)
I bet he has his own private identity sewed up tight. Or he has nothing more to himself than he shows online, which is a really scary thought.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
(Link)
The only person I know who genuinely just has the one identity that she perceives in herself and projects to others is my mother. And she has mental health problems.

Another anecdote: when I was working with very able young people we were exploring using Teen Second Life. I asked them what they thought about this idea of having a second life online. They looked at me as though I were mad, and told me that that wasn't the way they saw the world; they saw themselves as having three, four, five and more lives in all sorts of different spaces. I understood them as meaning multiple identities. How can that ridiculous man presume to take that wonderfully rich way of navigating the world away from millions of people? Does he really think a clever address book/chat medium is going to fundamentally change what it is to be human?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:22 am (UTC)
(Link)
Oops - that's me, Happytune. Didn't realise I wasn't logged in.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:29 am (UTC)
(Link)
I recognised your writing without your name - which is another interesting point about online identity.

BTW - when do you fly? Hope the ash doesn't give you problems.

(just going now)
[User Picture]
From:happytune
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:38 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah - at the moment we're OK. But KLM has just cancelled flights from Manchester and Leeds...hoping Birmingham will be OK for today...
[User Picture]
From:katlinel
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC)
(Link)
Hope you enjoy the walk.

And I completely agree with you that Mark Zuckerberg can only conceive of interacting with the world through the position of immense privilege and the protection that that brings. "Integrity" - I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2010 08:29 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks I am just going now - H standing at the front door looking at me
From:londonkds
Date:May 16th, 2010 09:31 am (UTC)
(Link)
It reminds me of what I thought was a very stupid remark by a senior SUP person at the time that LJ removed the ability to create free accounts without adverts, that any person with more than one LJ account must be sockpuppeting for discreditable reasons. But Zuckerberg's comments are even more extreme and stupid.
[User Picture]
From:hafren
Date:May 16th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Can't help recalling Flashman: "Why, I've been a Danish prince, a Texas slave-dealer, an Arab sheik, a Cheyenne Dog Soldier, and a Yankee navy lieutentant in my time, among other things, and none of 'em was as hard to sustain as my lifetime's impersonation of a British officer and gentleman."
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:May 16th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The walk sounds lovely. I hope you got to go.

Zuckerman's comment gave rise to this thoughtful post by Mercutin on Dreamwidth, in which she says:

At best, they are using the "reasonable man" standard, where "reasonable" = Zuckerberg. If someone wants to have a social networking system that actually has what I'd call *generally* reasonable privacy policies, they need to use a "reasonable teenage girl" standard,

where by "reasonable teenage girl standard" she means a standard that acknowledges the 50% chance that a girl online will be harrassed or stalked in her life, and will take the precautions she sees fit to prevent that.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 17th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, someone quoted that on crooked timber. They said that dreamwidth was set up by those teenage girls now grown up. Is that the case? Is it run by women?
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:May 17th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's run by two women and a man. Seventy percent of their open source coders are female. The founders have been asked to speak at several open-source conferences about how they get so much female involvement, and the answer isn't as simple as "we ask women." They build inclusiveness and development into everything they do, system-wide. I've been very impressed so far.
[User Picture]
From:muuranker
Date:May 17th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
(Link)
This reminds me of a paper (I'll dig out the reference if you're interested) which contrasts classical Greek and Samoan ideals.

Classical Greek, the author suggests, is perfectly rounded,totally integrated - what you see from one direction, is what you see from any direciton - the 'one identity' model. Samoan is 'perfectly faceted' - whatever direction you approach from, you will meet something that is perfectly fitted to you.

The author suggests (or maybe this is my spin on it) that diversity being the norm, if people attempt to present the perfect 'fit' to others, we are more likely to get along than if we try to pefect ourselves without reference to others.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:May 18th, 2010 07:36 am (UTC)
(Link)
For the Greeks I suppose it was an ideal from which women and slaves were excluded, because the powerless had to bend to others' wishes. In a way it defined true humans as those with the social power to present a smooth unified front. Just as it was seen as civilised to go naked in the gymnasium, and barbaric to cover up; because the elite could devote hours each day to creating a perfect hairless, muscular, physical presence. The seamless online naked identity is something similar. In a way, the false mask has been internalised. Very interesting, thanks for the analogy.

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com