DIDW: Grassroots identity: Does it Have a Chance?


I was torn between Carol Coye-Benson's session on The Business of Digital Identity and the session on Grassroots Identity. Grassroots Identity finally won out because the characters they've got assembled for this panel are bound to provide an interesting show:

  • Moderator: AKM Adam, Reverend Dr., Seabury-Western Theology Seminary
  • Doc Searls, Sr. Editor, Linux Journal
  • Simon Grice, CEO, Midentity
  • Marc Canter, Chairman & CEO, Broadband Mechanics
  • Simon Phipps, Chief Evangelist, Sun

T-shirts, haircuts, tattoos, cars, vanity plates, and so on are examples of non-digital grassroots identity. Digital example include email addresses that are picked,meetup.com and other community creating services. Issued identities include driver's licenses, passports, many email addresses. Grass roots identity is created by the person for their own purposes. Its about being yourself, expressing yourself, sharing your own data, thoughts, and ideas. This blog is an example of a grassroots identity created by me to share an aspect of myself.

No identity is an island. Every identity sits in some context.

People are willing to pay for choice associate with identity. For example, many people pay to have a particular email address. I'm one of these, for example. I pay pretty dearly in terms of money and time to maintain a domain (windley.com) where I can create my own identity.

Identity markets are about relationships. Identity isn't worth much without a context. People exist inside relationships (both personal and organizational). We're typically very forgiving of identifying attributes being transfered to organizations and people we have relationships with. This even applies to where we shop and our willingness to give up information about who we are hen we buy in order to get a discount.