Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Faceted Id - context in identity management

I listened to a fascinating presentation this morning at the Emerging Technology Conference, given by danah boyd entitled "Revenge of the User: Lessons from Creator/User Battles". Hard to tell from the title, but it was about so-called "social software" (e.g., Friendster, Orkut, LinkedIn, etc.) and its inability to provide context along with identity to its series of relationships. To Friendster, everyone is either your "friend" or, essentially, a non-entity. There is no degree of friendship and, more importantly, no way to segregate some relationships from others. She mentioned the case of a high-school teacher who was taunted mercilessly by her students because of the social "friends" listed for her entry at one social software site. Yet, in the real, physical world the two groups (students, friends) would never meet.

I was envisioning a link to identity management's persona/role entities. After the discussion, I found boyd's Master's thesis, "Faceted Identity:
Managing representation in a digital world
", which introduces the term context as a way of differentiating among various personae and roles. Fascinating, and I urge those with an interest in IdM to read it.

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