January 15, 2020

AIM and Identity

My AIM username was scribbler. My Xbox username was scribbler. So was my email. And my Facebook ID. And my Kazaa. I liked having a unifying name across all services.

Nowadays, kids not only have different usernames for Snapchat and Instagram and Twitter and TikTok, but most kids have multiple usernames for each platform.

Boomers have very strong identities. They enjoy certain kinds of wine, they are loyal to certain carmakers, they put the same hotel brands and airlines on repeat.

But young people are promiscuous. Trying new beers, new airlines, new travel experiences.

I wonder if the iPhone generation is more comfortable with changing identities. Boomers have carved their identities in stone. But when you’ve got 20 different usernames on a dozen different services, who are you? And does it matter if it changes?

I think fluid identity is a net positive for society. But we’ll see.

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