Learning to stand up for my Identity, began with O’Reilly | She bows in gratitude for the teaching.

The first time I had my “identity” erased was actually by O’Reilly. Ok, to be fair it was by his people.

I was invited to attend Foo Camp in 2006 and was then invited to speak at both Web 2.0 Expo and Emerging Telephony in 2007.  So, I was asked to fill out my speaker information and list my “company affiliation” as Identity Woman. I didn’t really work for anyone (I really never have) and that was my “identity” after all.  So I think they will get it and its all good.

I am really excited I was asked to speak and really like wow! its an O’Reilly Conference and Wow! and I want to see my name in the program – for the first time ever…in a program of a major conference….I open it up and well…I’m not Identity Woman. My identity was erased because “Identity Woman” didn’t meet their “style guidelines”.

They arbitrarily decided what that should be and listed me with that. Then to ad insult to injury because I had written the bio-blurb about me assuming Identity Woman was my affiliation I didn’t put it in there. So there was no mention of where you could find me on the web in the physical program.

Me being young and naive and this being my first conference and feeling REALLY viscerally upset about being erased I dashed of a perhaps to strongly worded and overly emotional e-mail a few including Surj and Brady who were leading the program committee.

Hi guys,

So I am a bit confused.

I CLEARLY am Identity Woman.  AND some how this identifier was eliminated from my description on you website and in the program.

I am basically an independent person who has fordged my own unique role in my ecology. My identity is Identity Woman that is where people should go to find me.  Not having this listed in the program OR on the website is marginalizing me.

If you have a specific need to associate me with a formal ‘organization’ or ‘standard’ I am happy to also support your identification ‘needs’ – (OpenID/Internet Identity Workshop)  but you made these associations for me and eliminated my primary identity without asking me first. OR AT THE VERY LEAST PUTTING Identity Woman into the description below.

Please be more thoughtful and considerate of this in the future.



I was back channeled this:

This is really bad form Kaliya. You need to think what your saying before you type. This makes people who do their job as best they can feel bad. Can you please send an apology.

I wrote this:

Hi guys,

I spoke with Vee this morning and she let me know that the mistake about my identity might have arrisn from the style guide formalities.   I know that you are all doing your best and I am sorry for the overly emotional tone of my e-mail yesterday.

Thanks for having me come and share the work that Identity Community has been working on.  It was fun to finally get up on stage I am looking forward to the Web 2.0 Expo.



This was one of Brady’s first conferences too and I really upset him (I’m sorry that wasn’t my intention).   Sadly, Brady and I have yet to have  a conversation that is anything except tensely polite.  I don’t think he ever forgave me even though we verbally agreed to in the hallway that day. They never really apologized just explained it away…. bureaucracy and implied I should just be happy that I was presenting not to be worried about my self presentation (but it’s my “identity” and I’m Identity Woman…I kept thinking).   Vee the woman, who had been with O’Reilly for years and was the speaker co-ordinator for the event, she was lovely and empathetic. She apologized and agreed to change it online.

I know now how much work running conferences is having done 150 myself. One of the reasons I love unconferences is because there is no program to print out with everyone’s name written correctly with the right affiliations etc.

I am getting much better at advocating and explaining my need to list my online identity “Identity Woman” when ever I am speaking.  I was invited to speak about the startups in the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium contextualized relative to the World Economic Forum Report at the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace privacy workshop in June in Boston by Jeremy Grant head of the National Program Office. (preso here if you wanna see it)  I was asked how I should/could be listed in the program and I requested that Identity Woman be listed – he agreed.

I continue to stand for my name, my identity in Google+ asserting the right to choose the headline of MY PROFILE page in Google. Is it my profile reflecting my words or their profile “of me”.




  1. Id mench says

    Its interesting that people’s feelings migh have been hurt by your assertion of who you are. I actually thought your note was clear, it di not trash them, it did not say they were bad people. You simply told folks about how their actions impacted your business and asked them to correct that.
    It is more like they used words to make you feel bad ( bad form) you made them feel bad etc. Funny how those with power get to define the terms of engagement.

    SHe really said they were just doing their job! as if that had no impact on you….

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