As our globalized world continues to flourish and new online systems emerge, the gap between which we can separate our online persona from our real-life activities is decreasing (Costa and Torres,2011).In the 1990’s web user remained anonymous through concealed identities, however, the creation of social networking sites and the formation of personal online profiles places our personal information to a public setting and puts our online activities under surveillance (Krotoski, 2012). As issues over the protection of our online persona grows, some people have started adopting multiple online identities in order to establish a distinction between professional and personal livelihoods (DiMicco and Millen, 2007).
Multiple online identities
One of the benefits to the creation of multiple identities is that it allows us to categorize different attributes of our personality to a distinct persona. This is important in maintaining a healthy working reputation, detached from our social activities (DiMicco and Millen, 2007).In the Ted Talk below, Mario Rodriguez discusses the monitoring of potential employees to a company by analyzing their social network background to assess if they are an appropriate candidate for the job. Rodriguez mentions that inappropriate online content on networking sites reviewed by the employer may discourage them from hiring the applicant, or lead to the loss of jobs for already employed individuals.
Continuing from the theme above that multiple identities allow different facets of our personality to be expressed, is the idea that an anonymity identity permits the user a certain amount of control over their creative outputs (Krotoski, 2012).Online environments often involve the participation in niche private interests that are not always publicly understood. a hidden identity therefore allows the user to explore their unique online hobbies without fear of scrutiny from others (Krasnova et al, 2009)
Issues with multiple identities
Multiple online identities, however useful, are critiqued for the burden they provide to user in having to manage more than one virtual persona. Not only can this prove to be time consuming, it also may create a personal identity crisis for the individual by causing them to question what online identity is an accurate representation of their offline self (DiMicco and Millen, 2007). Partnered with this, by acquiring multiple identities people may be seen as untrustworthy by not revealing their true identities (Known as “Cat fishing”), limiting the opportunity to establish meaningful online relationships with other users (Peterson, 2013).
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Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Revista Educacao, Formacao & Technologias
DiMicco, J. M., & Millen, D. R. (2007, November). Identity management: multiple presentations of self in facebook. In Proceedings of the 2007 international ACM conference on Supporting group work (pp. 383-386). ACM.
Hayley Peterson (2013) Daily mail Article, Catfishing:’ The phenomenon of Internet scammers who fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into romantic relationship
Krasnova, H., Günther, O., Spiekermann, S., & Koroleva, K. (2009). Privacy concerns and identity in online social networks. Identity in the Information Society, 2(1), 39-63.
Krotoski, A. (2012). The Guardian, Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?.
Rodriguez. M (2013) YouTube Video, Facebook Privacy & Identity – Exploring your digital self
The internet society- Online identity
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