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Mourning a Long Gone Thing

May 21, 2010 17:47:12.000

Sometimes I think Nick Carr is unaware of what year it is:

Imagine, Lanier said, a young Zimmerman trying to turn himself into Dylan today. Forget it. He would be trailing his online identity - his "one identity" - all the way from Hibbing to Manhattan. "There's that goofy Zimmerman kid from Minnesota," would be the recurring word on the street in Greenwich Village. The caterpillar Zimmerman, locked into his early identity by myriad indelible photos, messages, profiles, friends, and "likes" plastered across the Web, would remain the caterpillar Zimmerman. Forever.

This is in the context of Facebook (and social media in general) having a persistent impact on your identity. What Carr fails to notice is this: it's been less and less possible to "shed your identity" for eons now. Facebook is the least of it - there's your whole credit history, something that Dyland didn't have to worry that much about "back in the day".

It's not just Facebook, either. If you're the least bit prominent online, you have Google footprints. Good luck getting rid of those :)

posted by James Robertson

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