Book Review: Identity Shift - Self meets tech in the networked community

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Technology seems to have become a double-edged sword in a world where we face an internal conflict to define ourselves, as social relationships become increasingly complex.

On one hand, technology has created an interconnected world, breaking down geographical and physical barriers, expanding the view of individuals, changing day-to-day lives and creating new opportunities.

But on the other hand, technology has is also seen as going hand in hand with privacy loss, a lack of security or increased vulnerability to threats both old and new.

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These and many other issues are explored in the recently launched book Identity Shift, by Allison Cerra and Christina James. The book bases its findings on a primary research study commissioned by French equipment supplier Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). The study focused on how one's views of identity change in a hyperconnected world, and what role technology plays in augmenting our relationships with others and our perception of ourselves?

Some of the most important trends in this hyperconnected world include the social network boom, which has provided a new way of connecting, interacting and even determining social status. But, whether people like or not, this connectivity leaves a trail or digital footprint, which can complement or sometimes redefine identity. The catch is that indelible identity no longer depends exclusively on us, but also on others.

In the same way that technology has had an impact on lives and identities, these effects have also been seen at the family level and in society in general, including the business sector.

It is in this last area where the book, with a sharp psychological approach, digs deep into the factors, behavior and characteristics that translate into business opportunities.

Although the central topic of the book is not groundbreaking, it is yet another sign of how our reality is evolving, now faster than ever thanks to technology.

And at the pace with which technology is evolving, it is very likely that publications like Identity Shift may already be behind when the book is sent to press. But a fresh look and updated data are always welcome.

That's exactly what this book has to offer, another look with fresh data for those technology providers struggling every day to win consumers, who are lured by an increasingly rich and vast offer in a market more competitive by the day.