Topic 2: Is holding multiple online identities advantageous?

With contrasting opinions on whether individuals should adopt multiple online identities, Facebook and 4Chan have created social media platforms that differ in the extent to which an individual can achieve anonymity. Whilst 4Chan users don’t even need to register an account to use the site, Facebook has constantly searched for ways to improve the authenticity of its users and their recent acquisition of Instagram highlights this (Krotoski 2012). The differing views of these two social media platforms has opened up a debate regarding the pros and cons of having more than one online identity.

Personally, I first became aware of the importance of my online identity during a talk in sixth form at school. The speaker came in and presented pictures of students in the year group that he had found through their social media accounts. Needless to say, the photos didn’t broadcast the students in the best of light and the talk enabled me to recognise the importance of maintaining control over my online professional appearance. However, is creating multiple online identities the best way to overcome the risk of your professional appearance being tarnished?

The video from Sophie’s blog post shown above highlights the pros and cons of having more than one online identity that takes into account both businesses and individuals.

Advantages of having multiple online identities

One of the main advantage of being able to adopt more than one online identity is that you are able to express your opinions on the internet without negative repercussions. This can therefore lead to more honest and open discussions about sensitive topics online.

In addition, Jarvis (2011) believed that one positive of adopting multiple online identities is that it allows an individual to present themselves differently depending on their audience. Whilst this will enable control of your professional appearance, does this approach lack transparency and integrity? Personally, I believe so, I feel that the key is to use the social networks in the best way possible that retains your personal privacy without compromising your professional opportunities. I hold the opinion that this can be achieved through use of extensive privacy settings available on social media platforms rather than through creating another identity.

UOSM 2008 Topic 2 - Advantages Picture

Problems associated with multiple online identities

Easily disposable online identities that aid anonymity can be seen to facilitate bullying and perhaps the only way to combat this problem is to ensure than all of an individual’s actions online are attached to a single world identity (Clear 2014). Having more than one online identity means that accountability for online actions which is a significant negative aspect of encouraging the use of multiple online identities. With Hotmail accounts requiring telephone numbers, YouTube requiring a log in to watch videos and Facebook taking down accounts that aren’t tied to an offline name, it seems that many companies are pushing for this single world identity.

However, with more detailed profiles and identities online, is this facilitating the growing problem of identity theft around the world?

Olivia Handyside’s blog post mentions that the presence of Cookies and IP addresses suggests that complete anonymity can never be achieved online even with multiple identities. However, IP addresses can become insignificant if proxy servers are used which suggests that complete anonymity can likely be achieved. By being able to reduce your traceability online, it further highlights the fact that an individual can maintain their professional online profile without the need to create multiple identities.

For further information on how to increase your anonymity online, click here.

 

References

Krotoski, A. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity. Last accessed 25th Feb 2016.

Prindle, D. (2013). How to stay anonymous online. Available: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-be-anonymous-online/. Last accessed 25th Feb 2015.

Clear, M. (2014). Why should I reveal my ‘real identity’ online? Anonymity isn’t so terrible. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/15/reveal-real-identity-online-anonymity. Last accessed 25th Feb 2015.

Jarvis, J. (2011) One Identity or More? Available: http://buzzmachine.com/2011/03/08/one-identity-or-more/ . Last Accessed 25th Feb 2015

Images: Featured Image taken from (http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to- be-anonymous-online/ )
Pros and Cons of multiple online identities taken from (https://www.haikudeck.com/multiple-online-identities-education-presentation-y8XXLox0g7)

Pitman, S. (2015). Topic 2 Multiple Identities. [Online Video]. 23 October. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umd3RBk-aIU. [Accessed: 25 February 2016].

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Topic 2: Is holding multiple online identities advantageous?

  1. Hi,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. It is very well written and also I liked how you reflected on every point about advantages and disadvantages of having multiple online identities.

    Apart from the points listed, however, I would love to find out your views on the subject of privacy and security in relation to various online identities? Do you think it makes your online experiences safer from cyber crime or do you think its doesn’t really make a difference?

    In terms of issues with multiple online identities, how can having a variety of online personas affect your potential employment?

    All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece. I like the way you structure your work and your train of thought was very clear. Cannot wait to see how you develop your ideas throughout future topics.

    Like

    1. Hi Kate,

      Thanks for your comment! I believe privacy settings have many benefits in relation to internet safety, especially in the cases of children as we are in an age where they are gaining access to the internet at a young age. In addition, with the use of proxy servers that make the tracking of IP addresses relatively insignificant, I believe that many people should feel safer online.

      I believe that having a variety of online personas (whilst some question the integrity of this) allows you to tailor your online profile to your audience. If this is for employment, your are able to use this to your advantage by making yourself more professional online.

      Stuart

      Like

  2. Hi Stuart

    Firstly, I was very interested in your view that the websites that aid anonymity have been enabling bullying. This thought had never occurred to me and I agree that this is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed.

    Also, you mention that Olivia Handyside’s post suggests you cannot be completely anonymous online, yet there are many applications enabling this such as Wisper and Yik Yak. Would you say that you are for or against apps such as these?

    Moreover, you hold the opinion that you can retain your personal life by using the privacy settings on social media websites. Whilst this is true, if you were to create a profile on LinkedIn, for example, would you not create an online persona that differs from the one you have on Facebook? I for one would and believe it is instinctive to do so.

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed your views on multiple online identities and look forward to hearing more.

    Like

  3. Hi Alice,

    With regards to apps such as Wisper and Yik Yak, if they actively recognise the dangers that their app can present with easily disposable identities potentially facilitating bullying then I am all for these apps. However, I believe that they need to implement security measures to prevent online bullying from being present on their apps.

    I believe that having a Linkedin profile that is tailored to your audience is sensible and I do not believe that it lacks authenticity like others may.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Stuart

    Like

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