There are so many different social media platforms that is available on the Internet to connect with people you may or may not know, it can be someone random that catches your attention and the next thing you know, you’re following that person on Facebook. That doesn’t mean you are that person’s friend, neither do you really know what are his or her weird habits, favourite foods, childhood stories or even their birthdays. The digital world has changed dramatically till the Internet is no longer ‘a place where identity could remain separate from real life’ (Aleks Krotoski, 2012).
Below listed are the perks and downsides of having multiple online identities.
Clearly, by having multiple online identities mean individuals can use different social media platforms to ‘market’ themselves, thus ‘It makes us more accessible to our audience and it is particular beneficial in terms of community engagement.’ (Coasta, C & Torres, R., 2011) Some individuals have more than one Facebook account (For example, one for work and one for personal use), or a Facebook (personal use) and LinkedIn (career prospects).
‘There is clearly also an advantage in terms of ‘marketing’ our work. By opening up the spaces where we present our practice, we are giving others an opportunity to interact with us and have access to our work.’ (Coasta, C & Torres, R., 2011) Therefore, individuals are able to manage what they want the public to know more about themselves through Facebook/ Twiiter/ Instagram and connects with potential employers to better understand his/her career developments and prospects.
‘The idea of a person siloing different aspects of her personality, never mind personal and professional personas, into different web-presences seems strange.’ (Meghan Casserly, 2011) You never truly get to understand a person as a whole behind your laptop screen, looking at their photos, reading about their profiles or favourites list. You can never know if all the contents or informations shared by that person is ever authentic.
‘The obvious problem with this line of thinking is that the problems associated with displaying a single self in front of multiple populations is not “mutually” the same for all.’ (Nathan Jugerson, 2011) This is the main reason why cyber bullying exists and is on the rise, where anonymous users leave harsh and offensive comments on the ‘weak’ or people they deemed as not in the same league. Because sometimes when you portray your “real” self online, others judge you based on what they think they know about you through your Facebook profile or pictures taken during the weekends on Instagram, they leave harmful comments.
I personally feel that having multiple online identities isn’t really a good thing. ‘Current Google CEO Eric Schmidt who said that “if you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”'(Nathan Jugerson, 2011) It is true, and I believe in being yourself, whether is it online or offline. Having more than one online identities call for more maintenance duties in managing those profiles, it is like splitting your personalities into fragmented pieces and sharing it with people online. At times, being a little private with sharing may just help to protect yourself but then again, if you were to have multiple online identities, my piece of advice would be to manage your online profiles professionally.
Aleks Krotoski (2012). Online identity: Is authenticity or anonymity more important? The Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity [Accessed: 1st December 2014]
Coasta, C & Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Edicacao, Formacao & Technologias. University of Saford. Available at: http://eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/view/216/126 [Accessed: 1st December 2014]
Meghan Casserly (2011). Multiple Personalities And Social Media: The Many Faces of Me. Forbes. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2011/01/26/multiple-personalities-and-social-media-the-many-faces-of-me/ [Accessed: 1st December 2014]
Nathan Jugerson (2011). Jeff Jarvis and Multiple Identities: A Critique. The Society Pages. Available at: http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/03/25/jeff-jarvis-and-multiple-identities-a-critique/ [Accessed: 1st December 2014]