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.