There is no doubt that when asked to write something about themselves most people tell the truth. Sadly the same cannot be said for what happens when people write about themselves on a computer.
Two reasons have emerged from this extraordinary fact. The first is that people are keen to avoid being traced – and lots of people do use digital systems to trace others. We have all known for many years that universities and employers check out applicants online before offering an interview.
And the supermarkets with their Nectar and other cards all know about our purchases. Although they don’t tell us why, sometimes our insurance costs rise. Could it be coincidence that during that same period we were buying more alcohol?
So hiding the facts is something some people tend to do online. But there is also the point that many people now play fantasy games online where they actually become someone else. The process makes being someone else more fun, so they start making up a new identity which online at least is more vital and real than their actual identity.
But, it appears, this doesn’t happen when people commit themselves to paper.
These issues are revealed in the “The Future of Identity” report which has been commissioned by the UK Government as part of its research into scientific and technological trends.
It seems that the everyday details of a person such as age, religion, nationality, occupation etc are just made up. Online at least identity is flexible although far less so when answers have to be written down.
Which gives everyone from employers and universities to marketing departments in companies a need to go back to paper, and then to store the paper for further use.
The reports in the business press suggest that youngsters create fake identities online to protect themselves, and I am sure that is sometimes true. But I think they also do it because the new identity is more fun than the real world one, and being a new person is no longer seen as an admission of failure or of mental health issues.
So the notion that businesses can somehow overcome this trend is quite possibly false. It is also possible that people like telling tales.
Almost certainly the move to digital has reached a high point, and we now see people moving back to paper. Certainly we are seeing more and more personal paper records being stored with us, and this trend will certainly continue.
There is more information on our secure document storage facility on our website.
Alternatively, call us on 0800 783 9516 for more information.