Multiple Identities

by | Sep 24, 2019 | Identity |

“If you have more than one identity, you have an integrity problem.” This was a quote attributed to Mark Zukerberg by a speaker during a meet-up last night. The speaker went on to disagree with Zuck arguing that we all have multiple identities as who I am with my family is different than who I am at work.

Fair point. As a visual learner, I’ve adopted the wagon wheel imagery talked about by a professor of mine in university. The idea being that our core identity, who we are, what we belief about the world, and so on, sits in the hub of the wheel and permeates out to every single aspect of our lives. Our physical, emotional, financial, social, spiritual, work, creative, etc. aspects of our lives. And there can be disconnects between the hub and the spoke or between different spokes. In essence, they are all identities while at the same time they are all just a part of a whole.

Some identity experts would call these identifiers rather than identities arguing that identity is the whole and hard to ever fully describe.

The different ‘spokes’ gives hints or perspectives to who we are and therefore need to be considerations in privacy as we go digital. Again it is important to be clear on the purpose of our work or as Simon Sinek says, ‘Start with Why/.” Identity data often serves the purpose of identifying a person interacting with another – so is this person Amos or someone pretending to be Amos. Identity data is not trying to tell us everything about the person – so it is not trying to define the whole ‘wagon wheel’ but just enough.

So perhaps we all have multiple identities or identifiers, and perhaps our work on digital identity should focus on the minimum data needed.

Photo by Mike Petrucci


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