Toilet-stall graffiti: a peak into the zeitgeist. Photo taken on a ferry running from area code 206 (Seattle, WA) to area code 360 (the Kitsap peninsula). The “3-6-ohhh” (360) here scratched out, replaced by the 206. These are artificial, top-down-imposed, geographically-linked, group identities, that have been adopted, internalized and extended by those they touch. Exaptation in action. Whose turf is it, anyway?

These identities have made the leap to that ignoble time-trap, thefacebook, where people join groups to broadcast their identity. A quick scan of area codes reveals: “The 203” (southwestern Connecticut), “I’M SO 504 YOU GOTTA KILL ME HERE” (greater New Orleans, LA) and “206 TILL’ I DIE” (Seattle metro area). (No pro-360 groups or at least none that manage to break past the noise created by pro-Xbox-360 groups.)

Aside from the notice-me-notice-me CAPITAL LETTERS, none of these group names explicitly mention the geographic area they are associated with. Because—and this is key—those who would join that group already know what the name means. (Is this, perhaps, a demonstration of the local/non-local split?)

How and why do we collapse our identity into aspects of our data shadow

A shout-out to the terrific BLDGBLOG for a recent post on micro-territoriality, which spurred me to revisit my own work on this idea.