What is the Value of Our Digital Identity?

Digital Identity“the opportunities digital identity presents, when managed carefully, are enormous.”

Last year Liberty Global, an “international cable company” who “connect people to the digital world [enabling] them to discover and experience its endless possibilities” released a study, ‘The Value of Our Digital Identity’, as part of its “Public Policy Series”. The study was conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, a “global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy”.

Liberty Global described the study as:

“provid[ing] a new perspective on consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding the use of their Digital Identity and the resulting economic value across traditional industry sectors, web 2.0 players as well as the public sector.”

The study (accessible below) is the most detailed on Digital Identity ever released and it makes some fascinating observations not least about ‘conditions under which consumers are willing to share personal data’ and the impact of Digital Identity on economic growth. They describe “Digital Identity” as:

“the sum of all digitally available information about an individual”

They observe that “a quarter of the world‘s population will be members of online social networks by 2015” resulting “not only in increased information volume, but also completely new types of data.”

In terms of the evolution of human communication, we have long argued that we are at the very beginning of historical change. The combined advent of social, Web-based technology and smart mobile/cell phones has created global free speech but we are still in the infancy of fully comprehending what that truly means and the value of Digital Identity:

Source: The Boston Consulting Group

From an economic standpoint the report shines some positive light:

“digital data is already a growth driver in an otherwise flagging economy. While traditional industries shrank by up to 3.6% from 2008 through 2011 in Europe, data-intensive sectors – where the use of digital identity is a key component of business – thrived with annual growth rates between 15% (e-commerce) and up to 100% (Web 2.0 communities).”


“the value created through digital identity can be massive – at a 22% annual growth rate, applying personal data can deliver a €330 billion annual economic benefit for organisations in Europe by 2020.”

Even more substantial is their assertion that:

“Individuals will benefit to an even greater degree, as the consumer value will be more than twice as large: €670 billion by 2020. The combined total digital identity value could amount to roughly 8% of the EU-27 GDP.”

Follr Profile Websites solve the problem that “few individuals are in control of their digital identity” but the more exciting consideration is how we can help a bigger, global audience; “Digital identity is relevant not just to Web 2.0 companies, but to the economy as a whole.”

Another question is how does an individual, an organisation or a Government “embrace the new digital identity paradigm of responsibility, transparency and user control?”

To access the report in it’s entirety click here: The Value of Our Digital Identity.

The Currency of the New Economy is Trust

In the following excellent TED.com video Rachel Botsman, a ‘social innovator who writes, consults and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing through network technologies’, talks about “collaborative consumption.”

Rachel explains:

“At it’s core it’s about empowerment. It’s about empowering people to make meaningful connections, connections that are enabling us to rediscover a humanness that we have lost somewhere along the way by engaging in marketplaces [] built on personal relationships versus empty transactions.”

She adds:

“We have wired our world to share, swap, rent, barter or trade just about anything. [] Collaborative consumption is creating the start of a transformation in the way we think about supply and demand but it’s also a part of a massive value shift underway where instead of consuming to keep up with the Jonesy’s people are consuming to get to know the Jonesy’s. But the key reason why it’s taking off now, so fast, is because every new advancement of technology increases the efficiency and the social glue of trust to make sharing easier and easier.”

Rachel is essentially describing Follr Community Websites when she talks about the need for a “complete picture” a “real-time stream [] that will live together in one place.” As she points out “The future’s going to be driven by a smart aggregation” adding “ultimately, when we get it right, [] capital could create a massive, positive disruption in who has power, trust and influence.”

She adds:

“In the 21st century new trust networks and the reputation capital they generate will reinvent the way we think about wealth, markets, power and personal identity in ways we can’t yet even imagine.”

We can imagine it, it’s at the heart of everything that Follr represents. You can find Rachel’s book on Amazon and while you wait for it to be delivered I hope you enjoy the video then start to create your own community base with Follr.