August 17, 2002
In Defence of Heteronymity

Interesting Guardian review by Stephen Poole of James Gleick's new book What Just Happened.

One of Gleick's more contentious assertions is that the popularity of people assuming multiple online identities (aka Heteronymity) "suggests a sort of self-loathing, on a mass scale"

I'm with Poole when he rejects this argument thus: "Many do this just for fun, but many others act pseudonymously on a point of political principle. And their motivation is precisely that anxiety about information snooping which Gleick himself so deftly shows is rooted in the reality of corporate and governmental behaviour: they really do want the power to know what we have said"

The ability of assume multiple identities gives the net an additional degree of freedom when compared to the physical world. Most pundits have clocked that the net frees users from the constraints of geography. Few have clocked that it also frees people from the constraints of having a single identity.

The right to own and manage your own Digital Identity will be one of the key battles of this decade.

Posted by tomski at August 17, 2002 12:10 PM
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