Topic 2 – How many identities do you have?

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(Source: Giphy)

What is an online identity? It is a persona that one establishes in this digital world. Having multiple online identities has given a remarkable ability for an individual to become different individuals all at the same time and the information portrayed is what differentiates you from others.

Now that we have understood what online identities are, let’s find out why people create multiple online identities. Human beings are generally multi-faceted (no, this isn’t a case of schizophrenia). Danah Boyd, a social media researcher for Microsoft Research, once said, “Think of it this way: Would you invite everyone you’ve ever met to your birthday party? To your wedding? Different events involve different segments of your network and involve different protocols and behaviors. The same is true online.” The biggest takeaway is that one will be able to create a work-life separation. Reppler conducted a survey and found out that more than 90% of recruiters and hiring managers reviewed potential candidates’ social networking profiles as part of the screening process. As a job seeker, the goal is to create a desired impression and I am sure you would not want your potential employers know how hard you partied last weekend!

job-screening-with-social-networking

(Source: Reppler)

The downside of multiple identities is that it may backfire if used incorrectly. It encourages anonymity which leads to common cases of cyber-bullying, catfishing and racism rants etc. Catfishing is when someone takes advantage of using an anonymous identity to trick people, specifically teenagers, into having a relationship with them. A considerable amount of effort is needed to manage the online identities to avoid inflicting damage to an individual’s reputation.

Personally, I own multiple online identities and they are in place to manage elements of my personal and professional lives online. At the same time, I value privacy which links back to the comment I made on the previous topic. Being a marketer, I have a strong belief in personal branding and having several identities gives me an avenue to depict myself professionally. The key to managing these several online identities is to think twice about what is being posted online to minimize the risks of unwanted identity thefts. You may find out more about protecting your online privacy here.

References:

Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think 

Understanding your Online Identity: An Overview of Identity

How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates [Infographic]

Cybercrime and the problem of online identity identification

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9 thoughts on “Topic 2 – How many identities do you have?

  1. Hello K, your post is really well structured; such that you set the necessary foundation before elaborating further. This makes your points concrete and easier to understand even for a first time viewer. The references you used also fits in neatly into your post and blends well with your personal insight to give a concise argument. I especially like the personal touch you added in to conclude your post as it makes a very strong point for your preference.
    However, what you said: anonymity leads to cyber-bullying but if used properly can also give minority groups freedom of speech to relay their thoughts. Do you think this offsets the disadvantage?

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    1. Hello E, thanks for taking time in reading and commenting on my post. This is kinda late but I thought I’d still address your question. You’ve raised a good point! I agree that minority groups are given the freedom of speech to express themselves by staying anonymous. However, pseudonymous cyber-bullying is sadly a rising trend on the internet. The positivity in being able to relay thoughts online becomes a channel to facilitate cyber-bullying. It does have its pros, but it doesn’t entirely offset this disadvantage.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Klarissa! I’ve throughly enjoyed your post as I am able to better understand what EXACTLY is an online identity with the clear definitions and the informative video you have included! I felt that the analogy of choosing who to invite to your birthday party or wedding compared with choosing who is able to see your online activity is a great one, as it is something we can all relate to. However, as you mentioned that you separate business and pleasure by having different accounts for personal and professional uses, do you think that the professional identity that you are portraying might not be an authentic representation of your real personality? Cheers 🙂

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    1. Hi Brenda! Thanks for taking time in reading and commenting on my post. In fact, I am alright with sharing my personal information on business platforms. However the hard truth is that potential employers, managers or other professionals may not accept the “transparent” you. With this, I would not want to risk creating a bad impression and miss any business opportunities. Also, professionals shouldn’t be taking a 100% of what they see on your profile to conclude your real personality. A more reliable source would be to meet in person. Business is business! Unless you happen to be in an industry that allows work and fun, then that would be a more accurate representation of one’s personality 🙂

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  3. Hi Klarissa,

    I totally agreed with you on the part where “one will be able to create work-life separation” with the use of multiple identities. I, myself owned multiple online identities across different social media platforms and each were managed differently for different group of audiences. With reference to the statistics you’ve shared, I believe it’ll good for people to carefully manage their online identities as people from the ‘professional’ aspects are always on a lookout on your online profiles. However, I noticed that you mentioned the “key to managing multiple identities is to think twice about what is being posted online”. Spending time thinking before posting something online is more of what single identity user will do as it promotes ‘true self’ value. Would you consider becoming a single identity user to save time managing all the different identities? What are your views on this?

    Anyways, I’d a great time reading your post!

    Cheers!
    Wendy

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    1. Hello Wendy! Thanks for taking time in reading and commenting on my post. In my opinion, spending time thinking before posting something online should be something everyone does regardless of being a single or multiple identity user. When one posts a photo, comment, or any information they would like to make known to their social networks, he or she needs to know that it would leave a footprint. Privacy settings only provide a basic level of security. Therefore as much as I want to become a single identity user to save the hassle in managing different accounts, I would still go with creating multiple online identities for security (until one day a tool is created to assist us better in managing these many identities!) 🙂

      Like

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