Multiple Online Identities (Topic 2)

There’s no question that online identities are rapidly changing but is it for the better?

Digital identity is important because it is a part of how we are perceived by others (Costa & Torres, 2011). The question is, as internet users, do our social network pages, browsing history etc. together form one digital identity or are they separate? And does this depend on the access someone has to your individual identities. I would be tempted to agree that they form one identity but consider someone who only uses Facebook – their perception of you will be different to someone who follows both your Facebook and Twitter sites, for example. Sometimes this is deliberate, i.e. for professional reasons, but otherwise it is out of our control.

Digital identity is as much about what we present of ourselves as how others perceive information about us (Warburton, 2010).

So a combination of how others perceive us and what we choose to present makes up our digital identity. But what happens when people decide for themselves to have multiple online identities?

Identity theft is a growing problem – it is described as:

…loss of control over one or more of your partial identities (Internet Society, n.d.).

This brings back the question as to whether multiple identities are beneficial or  not. In this case, it could be said that having a “partial” identity is an advantage, since you would be more likely to be able to control at least a part of it.

When it comes to personal social networking sites, I would say that multiple identities are not advantageous. Many think that ‘pretend identities’ don’t work today because so many people are online (Krotoski, 2012). The idea of being ‘caught out’ by someone is a very real prospect. But it is important to note that users of the internet now have creativity as well as accessibility (Costa & Torres, 2011), so it is far easier to create these multiple personae – “a partial identity created by you to represent you in a specific situation” (Internet Society, n.d.).

Foster & Smith (2013) talk about the need for young internet users to reinvent their online identity in the future in order to enhance their professional online profiles. I can definitely predict this being partly true as I know a lot of what we post online is accessible to potential employers. I have personally thought about this when applying for internships and been aware that following the organisation on Twitter means that you are much more aware of what they do, but they can also easily access your page.

I’d be interested to know if anyone reading this thinks that they have adapted their online behaviour and identity for professional reasons.

Thank you for reading.


Costa, C. & Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, n.º extra, 47-53.

Foster, M. & Smith, R C. (2013). Reinventing Your Digital Presence, Planning For Your Digital Future. Huffington Post Tech.

Krotoski, A. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?. The Guardian, Technology.

Protecting Your Identity (n.d.). Internet Society. .

Online Identity – On Overview (n.d.). Internet Society. .

Warburton, S. (2010). digital identity matters. Rhizone, King’s College London.


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