Identity and Identification

Recently I have been thinking a great deal about connecting and sharing. I have been following some of the blog posts about identity, identification and privacy in relation to Facebook. The Scholarly Kitchen and Stephen Downes have been rich sources of information for me. This post pulls together some items from the past couple of weeks. Some of them are mulling around in my thoughts about semantic web discussions and the appearance of tools like Diaspora to add to our connection behaviour choices.

During this time Google Wave was used at a Facebook press conference as a live blogging tool (26 May).

26 May

Facebook Addresses Several Privacy Issues (Chris Conley, ACLU) “over 80,000 people to sign ACLU petitions demanding that Facebook give users control over all of the information they share via Facebook and ensure that user information is not shared with any third party without our own opt-in consent.”

23 May

Monkeys vs Robots: The Mysteries of Identity in the Age of Facebook (Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen) This post has some interesting points to make and links to posts by Jeff Jarvis (Confusing *a* public with *the* public) and Danah Boyd (Facebook and “radical transparency” (a rant)). There were 107 responses to Jeff’s post and ninety comments on Danah’s post when I last looked.

I know we have made a bunch of mistakes (see Robert Scoble).

22 May (archived from February 2010)

You Are Not a Gadget (Kent Anderson, Scholarly Kitchen) raised some fascinating ideas about “participation in social media and electronic commerce, especially the centrality advertising is gaining in the culture developing around online identity”  prompted by Jaron Lanier’s  You Are Not a Gadget.

18 May

Your guide to the Facebook revolt of 2010 (Jon Ippolito, UMaine NMDNet)

13 May

There’s More to Social Media than Facebook (Lana Brindley, On Writing, Tech and Other Loquacities)

Photo Credits

Summer Mayhem

More than a Hundred People

Writing, Transparency and Confessional Tales

In 1988 I was enthralled by the publication of John Van Maanen’s book Tales of the Field. An introduction to the book noted that:

Once upon a time ethnographers returning from the field simply sat down, shuffled their note cards, and wrote up their descriptions of the exotic and quaint customs they had observed. Today scholars in all disciplines are realizing how their research is presented is at least as important as what is presented. Questions of voice, style, and audience—the classic issues of rhetoric—have come to the forefront in academic circles.

My interest in John Van Maanen’s work was amplified by reading about Wolfgang Iser and his conceptualisation of the implied reader:

The concept of the implied reader offers a means of describing the process whereby textual structures are transmuted through ideational activities into personal experiences.

My PhD (1989) was framed with their work at the forefront of my thinking. (It was a time of action research and qualitative evaluation.) It was a decade influenced by ideas characteristic of those found in new paradigm research.

Almost exactly twenty years later I came across the discussion of radical transparency by Clive Thompson. I was alerted to his discussion through the WordPress home page (20 September) by this article. I think it links very closely with the publisher’s observation on John Van Maanen:

His goal is not to establish one true way to write ethnography, but rather to make ethnographers of all varieties examine their assumptions about what constitutes a truthful cultural portrait and select consciously and carefully the voice most appropriate for their tales.

I am at the end of my second week of my participation in CCK08 and feel particularly open to an approach to connectivism that acknowledges authorial voice and the potential for transparency. I am delighted that thoughts stimulated by a cultural climate in the 1980s are finding space and voice in 2008.