Fragmenting your own self

The incapacity within the current social media of fragmenting our identity

Is it rude to stop following someone on Facebook? The social network allows you to remain friends with someone and, at the same time, stop watching the publications of this person in your timeline. This functionality is one of the smartest moves of the network since its inception, mainly because it encourages a positive mood over the community. In other words, you don’t have to read any political comment from someone you do not share ideology, neither have to let him know about that (and avoid some possible troubles offline).But this brilliant Facebook functionality hides a serious problem: the impossibility of fragmenting your own self. People do not have a single identity: we are employees of a company, runners, cooks, social analysts (with more or less skill), music lovers and many other things, all in one package. A package containing its elements mixed and agitated, not always liked by the audience.

Social networks does not allow to fragment these multiple identities. In other words, we can only have one profile on Facebook, where we express all our points of view and experiences, whether on the crisis in the Middle East or about the paella we’ve cooked this afternoon. This situation is what leads us to hit the “unfollow” button, when we really just want to stop following one of their identities (which we do not like or bores us).

Will Facebook implement a system of multiple identities someday? The answer is very clear: there’s no way. The Facebook business model is based on having the most information about a single identity (their tastes, their experiences, their plans), to monetize this data. There can be no interest on the part of the network to divide the person in several profiles because that would make more complex the task of collecting and cross the user data.

Summarizing, some of the limitations of social networks are insurmountable because its business model. We can still dream of a social network that is really built according to the real user needs, but it won’t be any of the existing.

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