Topic 2: Should we have more than one online identity?

We are living in a world that technology and especially the use of web have become so popular that we spend a part of our everyday life online. People use and adopt the web according to their needs. Before we discuss having multiple online identities, lets focus on our real physical life. Do we behave in the same way with everyone we know in our life? And do we let everyone knows everything about us? The answer is surely “NO”. I personally have different attitudes at home, at university and at work. These differentiations in my life have brought the need to have multiple online identities.


In a report by Joan Morris, having more than one online identity is been described as creepy and people who do have multiple online identities are trying to hide themselves behind the fake profiles for whatever reasons they have. I think having more than one online identity is not necessarily bad, it helps people to separate their personal life from professional. We need these separations because we don’t want our personal online footprint to be seen by those who we work with. Read about people who lost their jobs due to social network posts.

My father has a Facebook account in which he is linked with family and his friends and he is using linked-in for presenting his professional life. When I compare his Facebook posts with his linked-in profile it gives me the image that my father is a two different people.

In addition to the use of having more than one online identity for separation of professional lifestyle from personal life, it is also used to gain anonymity on the Internet. Below is a video of Christopher Poole interview where he explains how he used fake identities to stay anonymous on the web.

According to Alex’s report, which talked about multiple online identities, beside all the advantages I explained above there are some challenges to keep multiple personas separate. People who have different identities on the web are struggling to draw the line between them. Making the decision of what is right to present on which one of their online profile can have a long-term effect.

Being able to manage and maintain more than one online profile in a way that they are kept separate is time consuming and it is hard to keep track of everything. A friend of mine is using multiple online profiles, and he been telling me that “a lot of time I forget my username or password and even sometimes I forget about an entire profile I had online”. This proves that it is really hard for one person to maintain several online profiles updated.


Costa, C. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society . . 5 (6), 3.

Morris, J, David, R . (2012). Identity Management: Multiple Presentations of Self in Facebook . . 3 (3), 4.


10 thoughts on “Topic 2: Should we have more than one online identity?

  1. Hi Saber,

    I really enjoyed reading your post, as you focused on the practical side of the question: are we really able to keep multiple, unconnected identities online? The way you present an argument on why it is hard for Web users to keep their identities separate and often forget logins, or unintentionally connect mutliple accounts is very convincing. Probably also because similar things happen to me from time to time :).

    This may actually be a crucial point: humans are not prepared to use multiple identities in the long run. If we look back into the offline world, we always identify ourselves with the same name and date of birth, hence it is not surprising we cannot cope with having few tens of accounts separately. Do you thing that this ‘practicality argument’ implies that in the future humans will necessarily need a single online identity?


  2. Hi Saber,

    I like how you got straight to the point. If we interact with people differently in real life for different reasons, then surely it should be no different when we do so online?
    I also agree that having multiple identities isn’t as bad as everyone makes out. However I also understand where these arguments come from, as there have been countless cases of multiple identities being used criminally. For example the London Riots, where Twitter and Facebook played an influential part in organising events related to the riots.

    Similar to your example, my sister uses Facebook to engage with friends, whilst her job requires her to use her LinkedIn account to engage with other companies.

    Do you think that the company you work for should know all about you, considering you’re an asset to the company? Or should your private life, in all cases, remain private?


  3. Hi Saber

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I thought using personal examples was a nice idea and that it’s easier to understand points when you give real life examples to back them up.
    Regarding your discussion on having separate identities, depending on the context, do you think that we use anonymity to create our ‘ideal selves’? Do you think autonomy is important to prevent ourselves becoming linked to beliefs and values that we do not have, but may be interested in?

    In your opinion is the difficulty associated with maintaining multiple online profiles just a short term problem? Do you think and that the market will rise up to supply technology, that will help legitimate users of multiple identities manage profiles with ease? If these technologies emerge, do you think it would be socially acceptable to use them and be open about the fact that you maintain multiple identities?


  4. Hi Saber, thank you very much for your lovely blog. The argument you brought about people having multiple online identities is ok, I do agree with you and I think if the user wants to have two identities then it’s ok to have, why people should have to join their professional and private life together in social networks, where they might always don’t know their profile visitors. I also think for those users who want to have only one online identify like google account and share that with all other online account then this user giving more information to the service provider then their actual required for example users interest, posts, images or search results etc.

    Please do let know what you think about my points also if you have some time please visit my blog, there are few interesting arguments I addressed there under topic 2


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