In our brave new world of digital connectedness, many people have chosen to bare all in the electronic frontier.
Just two months after its launch, Google Plus has earned a following of over 25 million people while Facebook has acquired over 750 million users after seven years. In comparison, the entire population of the United States is a mere 307 million people.
With all of these new connections to the world at large, it has become common for these services to gently ask for more information - a request that is sometimes more than a person is willing to accept.
I took the liberty of finding just how much information I've given to the Internet and I was surprised. Aside from my name, age, sex, life story and general image, I found that I've also supplied services with my likes, addresses and contact information, friends, family and an almost real time stream of my location.
The only thing preventing the more confidential information from leaking out into the public is a general trust that Facebook, Google, Foursquare, etc. will handle the data with care and try not to lose it or abuse it. I, like many, have placed my virtual self in one basket and lost my role as the arbiter of my identity. Let's face it, we as a people are no longer in control of what information is available about us. If Facebook wanted to, they could sell your phone number to a telemarketer, or send spam to your email address. Private information on the net is like any other property; having it taken from you is theft, while giving it away can be a charitable service for the community.
With that in mind, I've started a new project. I've decided to make myself as publicly accessible as possible. I am giving everyone with an Internet connection the ability to know where I am at all times, without receiving any information in return. The website isyagerinthisroom.hostzi.com will lead you right to a map of where I am in comparison to you, your distance from my location and whether or not I am "in this room." In addition there are Quick Response (QR) barcodes posted around campus with this same question, so as to make use of the many smartphones on campus.
Will my excursion into this cyber-exhibitionism give me greater control over my online identity? Will the information blend into the backgrounds of the hundreds of websites the average person sees a week? More importantly, how will people create new uses for the information provided to them?