topic 3

Are you having an online identity crisis?

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).

UX Venn Diagram (1)

Created by Anna Filipek (2018) on Canva



Types of online identities


PROS&CONS of different online identities

SEO Strategy Mind Map.png

SEO Strategy Mind Map (1)
Created by Anna Filipek (2018) on Canva

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:

Screenshot of Anna Filipek’s Twitter accounts (2018)











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:

Video created by Anna Filipek (2018) on Biteable

To conclude

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!

Word count: 311


Beale, S. (2014)  The Online Identity Crisis. Wired. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

FutureLearn, (2018). Learning in the Network Age. University of Southampton. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

Gani, A. (2016) Internet trolling: quarter of teenagers suffered online abuse last year. The Guardian. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 19 April 2018].

Heussner, M.K. (2012) The Internet Identity Crisis. Adweek. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

Krotoski, A. (2012) Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important? The Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

Preston, A. (2014). The death of privacy. The Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

Van Dijck, J. (2013) ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn’, Media Culture and Society. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

Warren, C. (2011) 10 People Who Lost Jobs Over Social Media Mistakes. Mashable. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

White, D. (2008). Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. [Blog] TALL blog Online education with the University of Oxford. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

Young, R. (2017) Your Online Identity: Your Strongest Brand or Worst Nightmare? Huffington Post [online]. Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2018].



10 thoughts on “Are you having an online identity crisis?”

  1. Hi Anna,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog and your use of graphics. I particularly like the link you make between Topic 1, regarding digital residents and digital visitors, and how their primary identity of visitor or resident determines whether they create a single identity or multiple ones.

    I know that both having a single online identity and multiple online identities each have their own advantages and limitations. However, what do you personally think is best? Do you think the advantages of having multiple online identities outweighs a single online identity? What would you recommend to someone who is not digitally literate and new to using their identity online?

    I believe that having multiple online identities is best, but only for those who are highly digitally literate as it becomes easy for digital amateurs to get mixed up and lose track. I find it best to tailor my identity online to different audiences rather than to generalise my identity so that it accommodates to all audiences at once.

    I look forward to hearing from you.



    1. Hi Carl,

      thanks for your comment! In my opinion, neither of the online identities are best for everyone – I think the advantages and disadvantages of each are more/less beneficial to different people. For me personally, I think having multiple online identities is beneficial in order to set personal and academic boundaries. Whereas for someone who is quite new to using their identity online, I would recommend having a single online identity as that could take less time to manage and might be less confusing overall.

      In other words, I agree with your point. But would you say there are any advantages at all for digital amateurs to have multiple online identities?



  2. Hi,

    This was a really interesting read thanks! I particularly enjoyed your reference to online identity having a real-world impact on people losing their jobs from controversial posts on social media! I couldn’t access the video but I am sure it was interesting and would like to watch it!
    Building on the points you make about online identity crisis, how would you recommend managing your online identity? Coming from an environment in the early web without the knowledge of an ‘online identity’ how can we avoid a crisis best?



    1. Hi Tom,

      Thank you for your comment!

      I’m sorry you couldn’t access the video, did you try to click on the link in the caption?

      In order to manage online identity, I think the most important thing for digital users to do is decide which identity would bring the biggest advantages for them. For example, if they are currently seeking a job, perhaps an anonymous identity or multiple identities would be useful. However, if they don’t post much on their profiles anyway because they don’t have many digital skills, perhaps a single online identity would work best. As for how we can avoid an online identity crisis completely, I think that’s a bit more difficult considering most users, before forming an online identity, might be unaware of the different benefits and risks of the different types of online identities. Perhaps this is something that can be clarified more on social media sites, and possibly in schools? Students could be taught about how to manage their online identities best, before a crisis occurs.

      What do you think?



  3. Hi Anna,

    This was a very interesting article, I enjoyed being introduced to the notion of online identity crisis and I definitely identified with it as a digital native.

    While many of us in the developed world might have multiple identities and a hard time managing them all (sometimes even dictating what opportunities we can access), some people go unnoticed. This links back to what we all researched during our digital differences theme. This article talks about another type of an identity crisis, the one of not “existing” at all, with the article noting that children don’t even get birth certificates. The author further describes several ways institutions like the UN are trying to change population censuses in developing countries from paper to digital.

    How do you think access to creating an online identity would be able to improve the life and expand the opportunities of so many disadvantaged people in developing countries?



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