In this thriving digital age, individuals are judged hugely from their online identity. Comprising of all your online activity it provides a clear representation of one’s self. We well and truly have moved past the “on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog” (Krotoski, A., 2012) ideology days of the past.
When we operate online, we all leave behind a digital footprint. The following video explains all about our digital footprint and why we may not wish for our footprint to be associated with ourselves.
As we can see, one of the four points as to why we don’t wish to be associated with our digital footprint is protecting our reputation. This supports the idea of the need for multiple identities that links into the Personal vs. Professional approach. Do we really wish for potential employees to see our Twitter pictures of drunken nights out with friends? I would argue not and hence support the idea of multiple identities. I mean, I even set up a new Twitter account for this!
Furthermore, Nicole Lee Senior Editor for Engadget argues “People have diverse, rich lives that aren’t contained within a single idea and personae.” Here is a link to her article which provides a very interesting read which highlights how the idea of multiple identities is quite common – although this was just in terms of interaction through social media.
Another argument in support of allowing users to have multiple online identities is the idea that “The ability to forget, to start over is important.” Andrew Lewman, director of the Tor Project, created a browser which allows individual anonymity when browsing the web. I believe this is an important concept however this closely links with negative annotations as many users of Tor do so for the dark-web where many illegal activities occur.
On the other hand, Facebook as a company strongly believe in a transparent, singular online identity. This is as unless you are going to engage in identity theft or act as an imposter you can only have one Facebook page. In addition, Facebook profiles interact a lot on the web with features engrained into other websites all linking back to your singular profile.
Identity theft is becoming an increasingly common threat as the video below highlights.
In conclusion, anonymity is able to create any identity they wish. This poses the questions of should people be able to make themselves anonymous? Why are they seeking to make another identity?
CNN (2015) Online identity victim: Digital theif stole my face. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd1IotKCgSQ (Accessed: 23 February 2017).
Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011) ‘To be or not to be, the importance of digital identity in the networked society’, Educação, Formação & Tecnologias – ISSN 1646-933X, 0(0), pp. 47–53.
Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think (2016) Available at: https://www.engadget.com/2016/03/04/multiple-online-identities/ (Accessed: 23 February 2017).
jetsetshow (2010) 7 steps to building your online identity. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UlcOX1fZW4&feature=youtu.be (Accessed: 22 February 2017).
Krotoski, A. (2012) Online identity: Is authenticity or anonymity more important? Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity (Accessed: 22 February 2017).
photo, istock and Kabakou, M. (2013) Privacy & identity. Available at: http://www.internetsociety.org/what-we-do/internet-technology-matters/privacy-identity (Accessed: 22 February 2017).