Who or what is our digital self? More importantly, what will that digital self become? This is when the theme to the Twilight Zone should play or Kafka should stand and make his presence known. Currently this self grows in a limited visibility world that is attached to our identity. A non-tangible thing, if you can call it a thing. Perhaps we can call it the Digital Kafka, something of ourselves, that is not our-self but it is in the sense that it is a digital self. We cannot control our Digital Kafka, nor can we kill it either.
The reason these thoughts come to mind is lately the interviews and consultations I have been conducting tend to focus on the digital world. As if the online world is the end all of who and what we are as entities. Maybe this is a future truth, a world where absurdity controls far beyond the government control.
We still must be aware of the physical space dangers and never forget that side of privacy. Yet, people do not seem to get that idea any longer. I see the physical side of people becoming secondary, as if the offline physical self is a carcass to be discarded in the past.
Imagine waking up one morning and you decide to disappear. You plan a getaway and discover you are unable to delete your digital profiles. You never read the Terms of Services on all of the social sites, public databases or email from the government informing you of The Federal Terms of Service Protection Act. The new act makes it illegal to delete any and all online profiles without government consent. Sounds absurd but what if?
What if you attempted to delete all of your profiles and a trigger kicks that blocks you from access? What if, your profiles then goes Digitally Kafka, meaning they exist without your consent. I know totally absurd but this is an early morning lame attempt at being Kafkaesque, so play along.
Onward, you as a physical being disappears to Oceania but your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram still operate and post new content based on your past postings. As a matter of fact, the posting are far more interesting and enticing then your original social attempts. Those who follow you prefer the new Digital Kafka you. They now champion your actions and actually read your posting, not just follow.
You ask why would such an absurd thing would happen in the future. The digital world only cares about propagating your online information to use as commercial advertising to make money. You become no different than a, Got Milk advertisement. Yes, you have disappeared to Oceania and no one cares because the Digital Kafka you is doing just fine.
Yes, even if you are disappeared or dead, your Digital Kafka will remain.
Frank M. Ahearn – author of How to Disappear.