Faceted Id/entity:
Managing representation in a digital world

danah boyd
MIT Media Lab
Master's Thesis

Thesis document [pdf]
- Abstract
- Introduction
- Negotiating Identity in Social Interactions
- Reconsidering Social Interaction for the Digital Realm
- Self-Awareness in Social Interactions
- Digital Identity Management
- Example Applications
- Social Network Fragments: A Self-Awareness Application
- SecureId: An Identity Management Application
- Conclusion
- Bibliography

Related Projects
- Social Network Fragments
- SecureId

About the author


In order to manage one's identity and representation, individuals rely on contextual information about the environment around them. While they are quite adept at negotiating the complexities of contextual feedback in the physical world, the digital realm challenges their expectations by providing an entirely different set of rules. Focused on giving users control over their digital identity, the thesis research documented at this website discusses issues of contextual negotiation, self-awareness, and faceting of one's identity for management purposes. I approach the subject first by analyzing how people negotiate context and identity in the physical world; using this perspective, i discuss how the underlying differences in the digital world alter people's notions of context and identity. With those differences in mind, i argue for a design approach that empowers users by giving them tools for self-awareness and identity management.

This website provides the documentation of my research and is intended as a complement to the complete thesis document.