Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Discovering The Faces Behind The Name

Digital Identity was a major issue discussed at the first Reading Geek Night, and it's definitely something which we're interested in here surveying local news from our treetop perch.

While meeting people face-to-face remains the best way to build trust, how we associate with each other as social media gains an increasing foothold in society is growing as a topic of importance.

Previously I raised the subject of the psychological pressure of being a publicly recognisable figure and how this can affect the ability of an individual to do their job.

Mental health experts concluded in a report that stigmatising chosen identities is a political tactic to restrict information and limit freedom of individual expression which can have serious consequences.

However Graham Jones reports on new research showing that avoiding social media as everyone else gets a blog and hooks up to facebook or twitter could be increasing the social isolation which is at the root of many public health problems.

And in a neat coincidence local bloggers have addressed the issue from their own unique perspectives.

Mr London Street writes up a fascinating reflection on his flowering fame as he was recognised for the first time when buying his morning coffee.

It's obviously been uppermost in his thoughts recently since he's been wining and dining a series of classy female writers he's met though their blogs.

Elsewhere Tim Liew also considers the issue of public identity.

He reports on the unveiling of notorious blogger Belle Du Jour and compares her to former US vice-presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. In a powerful statement he asks:
"Who, really, is prostituting themselves here? Who is distorting the truth more? And who would you trust? The established bestselling author recounting her time as a high-class escort, or the soon-to-be bestselling author attempting to rewrite history to further her unbridled lust for higher office?"

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Update: The issue of identity and data security has been brought into focus over the past day as it emerges employees at telecom company T-Mobile have been engaged in one of the biggest breaches of the law ever - selling the personal information they were entrusted to protect.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham is pushing the case as grounds to introduce prison sentences for serious breaches of data protection laws.

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