A famous New Yorker cartoon sums up digital identity’s early phases in internet history. A dog sitting behind a computer says to another pooch, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”
Before the internet, material possessions displayed identity, style, and values. Now, experiences trump all material possessions. Our experiences are materialized into online content like images, videos, and texts. Online activities are inseparable from our real lives. Research conducted from Cambridge’s Psychometrics Centre reveal the deeply interlocked link between online actions and identity:
“Facebook “likes” reflect how extroverted, intellectual and prudent we are. Mining tweets reveals how extroverted and emotionally stable people are. This can be done by analysing the content of tweets (personality predicts what words you are more likely to use) as well as the number of tweets and followers people have. Twitter can also be used to infer dark side personality characteristics, such as how machiavellian, psychopathic or narcissistic people are.”
When put into context, a person’s raw data can accurately form a personality profile.