In hindsight I do not feel my blog post thoroughly addressed the question, ‘Discuss the argument for and against having more than one online identity’. However I really enjoyed having the opportunity to delve deeper into the subject of online identities, as they are becoming a common feature in our everyday lives. It was interesting to see the variety of different approaches my peers took to answering the topic at hand, particularly as some of them touch upon subjects I had not even considered; for instance Tim Hodgkins called mention to diminishing social interactions. This encouraged much discussion and pushed me to investigate further. Having had time to think about the question further I have bullet pointed my thoughts for and against having multiple identities.
- Personal branding- Having multiple identities builds up your portfolio and increase your integrity and employability
- Multiple identities allow user to separate work and social life. This gives users more control over who is able to view what content, and is great for ensuring better online safety and privacy
- It proves many outlets for people to express themselves online
- Users can choose to use pseudonyms to stay anonymous. This allows them to express themselves without the worry of discrimination.
- The mental cost. There is an annoyance of having to physically manage the logins and content for the various identities. I regularly have to check various accounts as I receive messages regularly through all of them, this requires time and determination. I have one friend who in a single day finds it necessary to communicate through numerous platforms, SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. I find this stressful.
- For every online identity you create you are giving away more and more personal data. This opens users up to identity theft and other online fraud. This is exemplified by the fact that many people choose to use the same or similar passwords. This can result in a number of online identities being compromised at once.
- Anonymity of secondary identities has resulted in many incidents cyber bulling spanning from the circulation of rumours to malicious and prejudicial content. It also helps to encourage online crime.
I have to say I am for multiple identities and in this Internet driven world I think this is a practice we will continue to follow. As we are required to provide proof of identification for more and more interactions in the offline world, it’s likely that we’ll see the same trend online. I don’t think it’s too far “out there” to imagine that one day, it will be impossible to create an online account without providing proof of identity.
I still however stick with my original conclusion that we must work to make the web a safer place. In order to be safe and positively present our self brand, their needs to be increased training and awareness on how to positively create and use online identities.