Does having multiple online identities challenge your integrity?

Image result for digital footprint poster

We live in an era where companies are now profiting off our personal information as it has become easier to access our information due to the wider use of the internet. Twitter the popular micro-blogging site has 288 million users sharing their opinions and has recently put up trillions of tweets up for sale (Garside, 2015). The web is now a place where we share different parts of personalities and personal information resulting in us creating a digital footprint.

Our online identities are internet personas we have established on the internet through using various websites. Most commonly in this day and age our online personas are actively constructed and edited to become an exact presentation of ourselves.

Through the rise of social media, we have reached an era where we as individuals will have multiple online identities. Our identities can be broken down into two categories, personal and professional. People tend to keep these two separate by having a professional work related identity such as LinkedIn or having a personal Facebook account where an individual will want to share certain aspects of their life with close friends and family. Online identities that some will create may differ from their actual creating a new persona resulting in someone having two identities.

Image result for online identity

Some may argue that there is a difference between having a fake persona and a partial identity. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that ‘having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity’ (Zimmer, 2010). Zuckerberg was putting the point across that the age where our different images for our co-workers and close friends are coming to an end.

In agreement, having more than one online identity can cause confusion especially if they are recognised under the same name. I’m sure we’ve all be warned that our employers will look at our personal social media pages, therefore it is very important for us to monitor what we post as it will create a presentation and reputation of our online identity.

In contrast, some will disagree as it can be argued that having more than one online identity is very common. There are a number of different social media platforms which can be used to project different aspects of our lives all at the same time (Lee, 2016). Tumblr and Instagram are sites which users will upload personal pictures and they also may have private and public twitter accounts where they will share views on current affairs. Therefore, we can see how it is possible for users to keep their integrity whilst managing a number of identities.

Additionally, Christopher Poole claimed ‘individuals are multifaceted and identity is prismatic’ (Krotoski, 2012). Basically saying depending on our online activities it is acceptable and normal behaviour. Psychologists have argued that having multiple online identities is an important of self-development and helping us find out who we are.

I would agree, depending on the user than having one identity would be easier and reliable, however personally depending on the social media platform and who I interact with will determine my identity. I believe in keeping my personal and professional identities separate as not everyone should be privy to certain information.

References:

Online Identity – An Overview (2016). Internet Society. Available at: http://www.internetsociety.org/online-identity-overview

Garside, J. (2015). Twitter puts trillions of tweets up for sale to data miners. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/18/twitter-puts-trillions-tweets-for-sale-data-miners. Last accessed 25th October 2016

Krotoski, A. (2012). Is online authenticity or anonymity more important? The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity

Lee, N. (2016). Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think. Available: https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/30/ea-blocks-origin-access-in-myanmar/. Last accessed 25th October 2016.

Zimmer, A. (2010). Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity. Available: http://www.michaelzimmer.org/2010/05/14/facebooks-zuckerberg-having-two-identities-for-yourself-is-an-example-of-a-lack-of-integrity/. Last accessed 25th October 2016.

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