Are you who you say you are?

I set this website up in 2001 to record the overland trip Lindsey and I took to India. I wrote my diary entries (I’d not heard of the word “blog” at the time) onto my palm pilot and uploaded my notes in internet cafes when we found them. I called the site “dancingmago” for reasons that are not so clear to me now, (in the early nineties I’d spent a year living, working and studying in Calcutta and had grown rather partial to mangoes and the name stuck with me). With social networking sites popping up all over the place, it only seemed right to register myself as Dancingmango. So I’ve got a pretty good claim to the username “dancingmango”.

However. On the web it doesn’t quite work like that. There’s only so many sites I can claim my username as my own. On the web it is first come, first served. It seems that I am not the only dancingmango. Nor am I the only Marc McNeill (the guy who supports Rangers on Bebo is definitely not me!)

The point of this is that in the social web of the web, are you who say you are? Which dancingmango is me? Which Marc McNeill is me? This wouldn’t really matter, but I read that one in five employers use social networks in the hiring process. This is inevitable (I’m hiring in Hong Kong and will Google prospective candidates), but I’d be concerned if it was used as part of the screening process. Excluding someone because they have the same real name or the same user name is clearly wrong. It is hard to see a solution; but if you are looking for a job, make sure that you have photographs associated with your social presence, and if there are multiple ‘you’s out there, ensure that you are distinctively you to prevent mistaken identity.

Leave a Reply