Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm Not An AI-Based Avatar, I just Play One On The Internet

I'm also not a human-based business person, I just play one at work. Regardless of how you lay claim to the reality of your own roles, it is a bitch trying to manage multiple identities on the web. Between my unique IDs, I juggle:
  • 6 blogs
  • 3 Twitter accounts
  • 3 Flickr accounts
  • 2 Friendfeed accounts
  • 8 email accounts
  • 3 Premium Second Life accounts
  • 2 Swurl accounts
  • 2 Delicious accounts
  • 2 Plurk accounts
  • 2 Linked-In accounts
  • 2 Ping-fm accounts
Plus literally dozens of others ranging from virtual worlds to social sites.

After a lot of trial and error, I found the easiest way to function with multiple identities is to give each one its own browser on each computer I use. So on my Mac laptop, the primary human account gets Firefox and TweetDeck and Botgirl uses Flock and the Twitter Web Interface. Less commonly used identities are relegated to Safari and Opera.

On my iphone, Tweetie supports multiple identities. Facebook only supports one (without entering IDs and logging in and out) so my human identity uses the application and Botgirl uses Safari. iPhone's mail application supports multiple accounts and works very well.

Multiple identities are fun, but can be a lot of work to manage. There have been a handful of times I've accidentally posted something to the wrong place. No harm done yet! If anyone has come up with other "best practices" for managing multiple identities, please share.


Vidal Tripsa said...

My own is infallible, and simple. Well, probably infallible by virtue of being that simple.

Desktop accounts.

It's a measure which suits me because when I take over, there's a lot which I've come to call my own. Signing in as myself right from startup means I can never intrude on Puppeteer's accounts, I never have to sign out of anything halfway through a browsing session (nothing more annoying than needing to switch Tumblr and Facebook accounts at once) and, frankly, I can feel a little more 'at home'.

It's also a good way for Puppeteer to avoid distractions. Although it's not a problem now, with my presence having been so withdrawn of late, they used to be disturbed by email notifications if Firefox was running my Gmail accounts. Now, there's no chance of my email or updates intruding on their workspace, and we can also share links very efficiently btween each other. If Puppeteer finds something for me, or I for them, we paste the URL into a notepad file on the other's desktop. hen, when we sign in and have little else to do, I can open that pad up and share to my heart's delight.

Dale Innis said...

Why, you overextended lil thing! :)

I use firefox (to personal gmail and gtalk and Google reader) and Lotus Notes (business email) for my atomic stuff, and chrome (to gmail and gtalk and Google reader) for my SL stuff; and the Two Browser thing works pretty well. But then I'm far less wired than you are!

/me waves to Vidal also. :)

Anonymous said...

Dedicating one browser to my business-related identity and another to SL helps ... so many blogs, too little time! But I love it!

Peter Stindberg said...

I only juggle my work-RL, my personal-RL, my personal-SL and a SL-store alt.

For the first three, the extension "CookieSwitcher" for Firefox has proven most effective - I can completely switch an identity with one mouseclick.

I could have done the same for the store-alt too, but for convenience reasons I simply use Google Chrome for that one.

Botgirl Questi said...

Vidal: I'm glad you have figured out an approach that works well for you. From your description here (and previous conversations we've had) my understanding is that you experience Vidal as a separate and distinct being from the human you share a brain with. So I can see how separate accounts are a good solution.

My current personal take is that Botgirl is kind of an improvisational persona, in the realm of a Tracy Ullman or Robin William character. So there's just one me taking information in, and I choose which character/identity to respond from, depending on the circumstance.

That's why I go the multiple browser route. I can have each identity's various sites open at the same time on their own monitor. I can then quickly glance back and forth and interact as necessity dictates or the mood strikes.

I can cut and paste as needed. One typical scenario is that there's something virtual world related on my human identities feedly page. So I can just cut from the tweet box in feedly on Firefox and paste it into Botgirl's Twitter page on Flock.

Botgirl Questi said...

Peter: I tried the cookie route, but went back to two browsers because I like keeping each identity's main sites/services open at the same time so I can fluidly move back and forth.

My laptop is on my right, and docked to an external monitor and keyboard in front of me. I can just swivel my chair back and forth to go between them.

hazel said...

same here. Ms. Dean uses Flock. My business ID uses Firefox and my private self Safari...