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Jonathan Berger is one of the original team members of Katango. He likes to program when he’s not programming and on occasion will engage with strangers he meets on Twitter. His main goal is to avoid having a job title as long as possible.

On Facebook, I’m mostly a lurker.  I spend about an hour a week stalking my family and friends to monitor what they’re doing, and only a couple of minutes a week posting updates.

I’m much more active than that on Twitter, though, owing to a piece of advice I received a few years ago from Paul Buchheit, the FriendFeed founder who is now at  Y Combinator. He said it’s important to have an online presence – what he called an online heartbeat.  The thinking behind this was that someone out there, whether it’s a professional contact or a personal contact, might just be curious as to what you’re up to: whether it be what you’re working on or what you’re doing.

So, it’s become a habit for me now; at least every other day I try to just tweet out something about what I’m working on.

My twitter handle is my full name: @jonathanberger.  But I actually maintain two twitter accounts; that’s my public one, and I’ve got a couple of hundred followers there.  I happen to maintain a private, protected one I send different kinds of updates to – there are only about 15 people or so that follow me on that one.  I’m a big believer that some updates are meant to be public and some are meant to be private, so I go to the trouble of maintaining two different identities on Twitter.

I heard this theory once, that when we buy clothes at the mall, we’re not buying what we actually like as much as we’re buying what we want to be seen in.  Everyone has a persona they want to project. The same applies to my – our – public and private identities online.  It’s a little shallow, so I’m kind of embarrassed to say it, but I tweet things to my public account’s followers that fit how I want to be seen – mostly things in line with my professional life and my work.

But when I tweet to my personal account, I don’t worry about that at all.  I tweet exactly what I’m thinking, or what I’m doing.  “Had a great time with Z at Ike’s Place.”  Or, this ^^ picture, taken in a moment of silliness one of the 2 or 3 times I’ve been to a hookah bar in my entire life (a photo which a friend promptly posted to Facebook – and which I promptly requested they take down, btw).

I wouldn’t post these things on my public Twitter account, because it’s not relevant to that online heartbeat I want to make public to the world.  And it’s also misleading – I’m not a hookah addict!

Currently, there are only a few options for those who care about cultivating an online presence to and through their social networks – all of which are pretty bad. You can severely restrict the size of your network, or what you share with it.  You can overshare personal information with many people who don’t care about it.  Or you can do what I did and take on the work of setting up and maintaining multiple accounts – projecting multiple personalities – on the same networking platform, a condition I call Multiple Online Personality Disorder.

No one really wants to do the work of maintaining two separate identities.  At Katango, we think we might just have the cure to what ails you.




This post was written by Jonathan Berger at Katango.

One thing that excites me about Katango is the potential to change our online social experiences in a fundamental way. A lot of these changes are possible due to the new social infrastructure being built by Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Kings didn’t need them, but commoners like us have been using addresses to send messages for a long time. They are now obsolete with this new online social infrastructure. Our “identity” is our new address. We don’t need e-mail addresses, phone numbers, or IM handles anymore, but address books, strangely, might still be useful. Why?

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