Monday, December 17, 2007

New Pew Internet & American Life Project Study on Online Identity Management

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released a new report on the increasing number of digital traces people are leaving all over the Internet as they post, blog and create profiles on social networking and sharing sites like Facebook and Flickr.

The report is entitled Digital Footprints: Online identity management and search in the age of transparency and looks at how the landscape has been changing rapidly as well as the many challenges this creates for how people juggle the balance between participation online and protecting their privacy.
"The more content we contribute to the public or semi-public corners of the Web, the more we grow our active digital footprint. These are the traces of data we contribute voluntarily, often in specific contexts with specific audiences in mind. However, digital data is easily disembodied from the original context in which it was created—obscuring indicators such as time, place, and intended audience. A contentious comment posted as part of a debate taking place on a community association blog may be written with neighbors in mind, but may in fact be viewed by a range of friends, family or professional colleagues for years after it is published, and not necessarily understood in its original context. At the same time, positive outcomes can and do occur as the result of our growing active digital footprint. Estranged family members find one another after years of separation, former flames reunite, and employers can learn about a job candidate’s volunteer work. Stories of positive and negative consequences such as these follow in later sections of the report."
The press release accompanying the report contains a short summary of the major findings.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:59 pm

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