Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Identity or Persona

P. T. Ong takes the time to blog his thoughts on the question of Identity vs. Persona which I've gone on about for some time. His conclusion is that, while he agrees with my thoughts and those of Timothy Grayson on this, we may be trying to stop a 25-foot storm surge with a 5-foot high levee. He concludes:
"I think the term identity is so overused in both technical and pop culture that it has been rendered not-very-useful for technical discussions -- it might actually be a source of confusion. I would suggest, when we need more exact terms, we should use words with less cultural burden -- like persona; and, we need to find a word/phrase to refer to these unique things that are people (and objects) -- perhaps entity."

He may be, and probably is, right. But it's very hard to have to give up perfectly good words because others have perverted their meaning.

The issues sounds familar

"Role" is another word that has many uses and misinterpretation of its current meaning can lead to all sorts of confusion. Particularly when the role a person plays in the organisation such an senior account manager is confused with the role that defines the "scope of authority to act within business process(es)"

Renaming something often reframes the issue and allows clearer discussion about what the problem actually is.
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