Are you the same person online as you are offline?
We live in an era where social media has seamlessly integrated into our everyday lives, thus we have become the ‘internet generation’.
Figure 1: Online vs Offline self
There is no doubt that the emergence of the web has had a massive impact on the way people connect, interact and share information with one another (Costa & Torres, 2011). As a result, having a ‘digital identity’ and being able to manage it carefully has become significantly more important as online activity increases. With our information being so easily accessible, I think it is important for people to handle their digital presence in a shrewd manner.
To show how I portray myself on different types of social media, I have produced a presentation using Canva to highlight my my-digital-footprints.
Should we have more than one online identity?
The idea of having multiple online identities is not an unfamiliar concept. Considering last week’s topic, digital residents are more likely to have multiple online personas that fit in with the different platforms they use. Whilst, digital visitors will also have multiple online identities via third party websites who collect identifiers.
According to Internet Society (2016), we represent different characteristics between our online and real-world identities. More and more people are creating different social media accounts and posting different aspects of their social life which shape their identity. However, whilst there are some people who use it for recreational purposes, 60% of employers (CareerBuilder,2017), now more than ever, use social media for recruitment.
With this in mind, it can take a single post to put your career at jeopardy (an example which can be seen here) and so perhaps it forces people to form a separate online identity from that of work and social purposes. Therefore, Cranor et al (1999) emphasises the fact that being able to manage ‘our public and private spaces online is a skill which should no longer be disregarded or undervalued.’
Following this, watch my video highlighting pros and cons of having multiple online identities.
Krotoski (2012), explores the idea that the anonymity behind multiple online identities may be an ageing concept. Although having multiple online identities may allow us to manage different aspects of our personas, there are various online communities that disagree with this concept.
Whilst I don’t disprove of having multiple online identities, I do believe that the intentions behind them should be questioned so as to prevent cases of trolling/cyber bullying that may come from anonymous or pseudonymous users (Frith, 2015). Therefore, strict regulation should occur so as to keep the authenticity of social media sites like Facebook.
CareerBuilder (2017) Number of employers using social media to screen candidates has increased 500 percent over the last decade. Available at: http://www.careerbuilder.co.uk/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=4%2F28%2F2016&id=pr945&ed=12%2F31%2F2016 (Accessed: 25 February 2017).
Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Revista Educacao, Formacao & Technologias. [online] Available at: http://eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/view/216/126 [Accessed 24 Feb. 2017].
Cranor, L., Reagle, J., & Ackerman, M. (1999). Beyond Concern: Understanding Net Users’ Attitudes about Online Privacy. In The Internet upheaval: raising questions, seeking answers in communications policy. MIT Press.
Frith, J. (2015) ‘Anonymity, pseudonymity, and the agency of online identity: Examining the social practices of r/Gonewild’, First Monday, 20(3).
Krotoski, A. 2012, Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?, [Online], Available: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity [Accessed 2017, February 25].
Pilkington, E. (2016) Justine Sacco, PR executive fired over racist tweet, ‘ashamed’. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/22/pr-exec-fired-racist-tweet-aids-africa-apology (Accessed: 26 February 2017).
Qian, H., & Scott, C. R. (2007). Anonymity and self‐disclosure on weblogs. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1428-1451.
Figure 1: Online vs. Offline Self: Who is the Real You?, [Online], 2016, Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZAkZ4TzSEA [accessed 2017, February 25].