I call the user’s “self revealing“ process, a process by which a person allows traits of his self or presumed self, to appear, be visible and be traceable through his background and present experiences, both in real situations and in a digital context.
I call background experiences any learning-oriented situations a person has experienced, which have happened before a given point in time. Background experiences are very relevant when we consider the user behavior and the user decision process. The fact that, now days, a part of the person’s background experiences occur in a digital world, allows their digital tracebility. I call this digital traces. Combined with what I call the foreground experience, that is the current context in which a decision process occurs, such experiences do influence the local choice. When part of the background experiences occur in a digital world, digital traces are left and can be stored permanently in a digitized format. They can then be seen, analyzed, processed and interpreted. The digital traces the user allows to leave, characterize a part of his real self or presumed self. Digital traces are characterized by a number of factors related to the experiences the users had in the digital world. For example the actions the user has performed on a given web site, the time spent on specific web pages, the links to other pages or web sites the user has followed. The internet is full of such digital traces.
When a person is making a decision, we can look at the digital traces he has left in his digital background experiences, and at the information we might have of his real background experiences and relate them together into a user profile.
The user profile can be enhanced by the user interaction with his context, be the context real and or digital. Any interaction the user is willing to have with his context reveals traits of his self or presumed self.
Sharing photos with selected friends, in a web social networks, is one example of such interactions. It is therefore possible to use the digital traces left by a user as a result of background experiences and present interactions, for a number of purposes. The interesting thing is that digital background experiences merge with real background experiences to form a coherent set of information related to a user, for a given period of time. Present user interactions, alters these background information to form a new set of background experiences.
The process repeats itself over time, and reveals traits of the user’s self.
Therefore the name Self Revealing process.