Will getting a better deal for data exchanged for online services feed our desire for a personal brand?

“Physical objects identify us, brand us, and send palpable signals to others about who we are. They communicate us to the wider world.”

One could argue it has been ever thus. But in the wide eyed days of the world wide web (aka web 1.0) against a backdrop of chat rooms, MUDs and IRC, there was, for a brief spell, a sense that the new communication platform might usher in an era where people were less bothered about possessing a strong, individualistic identity. But with web 2.0 “the desire to have a personal brand, to be understood, to express yourself, and to communicate to others” returned stronger than ever. But what happens when those objects, those beacons of personality, become bytes streaming from the cloud rather than totemistic touchstones?

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