Ever since internet access has been facilitating the formations of our online identities, it’s become difficult to maintain a clear distinction between the personal/private and the public (Preston, 2014). This is evidenced by the increasing amount of individuals losing their jobs due to regrettable posts (Warren, 2011).
Types of online identities
PROS&CONS of different online identities
When considering such advantages&disadvantages, it’s necessary to contextualize them around internet use. Linking to White (2008)‘s theory of digital residents/visitors discussed throughout the intro topic, a digital visitor’s main internet use, for instance, may be booking a flight. Thus it’s unnecessary for them to have multiple online identities. It is this question of what a user does online that determines the usefulness of having multiple identities.
Considering myself as a digital resident, for the purpose of this module I created a new Twitter account, thus demonstrating multiple identities:
Whilst this takes up more of my time, it enabled me to set personal and academic boundaries which I feel more comfortable with.
When considering the benefits&drawbacks of online identities, it can be a good idea to reflect on the online identities of people you know. For example, does it bother you that they have multiple profiles? That way, you can acknowledge how others’ might see your online presence, thus getting a different perspective on the advantages&disadvantages of different online identity types.
What to do if you have a digital identity crisis?
Having multiple online identities myself, I recognize that it can be difficult to keep on track, and easy to fall into an online identity crisis. So below I’ve compiled some tips on how to fall out of it, and manage your online presence effectively:
In an ever-growing online world, it’s important to evaluate the benefits&drawbacks of online identities in order to establish a feasible approach for yourself. Whichever identity type you go for, it’s vital to have an awareness of the implications of posting online, no matter the context – considering people even lose their jobs over one silly post!
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