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Crafting Your Digital Self

Gizing Khalandi, Collaboration with Waag Futurelab

Humans adapt identities daily based on the audience, like friends, family, and colleagues. Young adults develop various identities, exploring moral values and beliefs. In the physical space, it is clear who the audience is and which identity one needs to activate for specific contexts. The digital space has intensified social connectivity, mainly in Social Network Sites (SNS) like Instagram, allowing us to share life narratives. Within this digital space, anybody can be an audience, merging diverse groups into one context. This could lead to a “Context Collapse”, a situation where one accidentally reveals hidden identities to unintended audiences. How could we prevent future “Context Collapses” in digital identities?

Identigenie is a fictional, online identity manager that curates content for specific audiences, offering a solution for young adults seeking control over their digital identities. It addresses the issue of “Context Collapse”, where users struggle to control who gets to see their digital content. It operates through a mobile app and provides extensive filtering options, reflecting the user’s desire for identity management. Identigenie enables users to manifest their need for control, ensuring content aligns with their chosen identity and audience, anytime they need it.

Four user stories are created to give the everyday challenge and impression of how future young adults would use Identigenie.

There was a time when we could peacefully “lurk” online without any consequences. However, changes were made by various social networking sites, requiring users to become their “authentic selves”. From this development, self-presentation became more critical. Sociologist Sherry Turkle warned about the perception of self-identity and value in the digital space. “I share, therefore I am”.

Such a perspective generates a more delicate sense of self that demands unceasing validation. This is a challenge for young adults developing an identity, both offline and online.

Identigenie is a critical product that questions people’s self-presentation online, how they would manage self-image to various audiences, and its  effect on identity development.

“I share, therefore I am”
Sherry Turkle