Topic 2: “Who am I then?”

Online identity: the sum of the characteristics and interactions you make online. These may be personal identities, created by you or profiles made for you.

We always need to be careful with what we leave behind on the web, being conscious of our digital footprint. We must pay attention to our online identity, and therefore be aware of how we display ourselves to others via the web. One comment can cause damage to our reputation, affecting our everyday life. An example of this is Justine Sacco’s tweet in 2013 that went viral, concluding with her losing her job.

Bellow shows how Justine’s tweet went worldwide (24 hours after the original post):

This example shows us how we must keep our online identity professional, even if we believe it to be a ‘personal’ account. This example shows an advantage of having both a professional and personal twitter profile meaning you could keep one closed,  for private use.

This study, done by BuzzFeed shows just how easy it is to search individuals digital footprint:

BuzzFeedVideo, Internet Privacy Prank

Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook’s Chief Executive) believes we should all be virtually transparent: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity” This lack of integrity does not fit Facebook’s values. Anonymity online, means individuals can easily take up the persona of someone else. “[A]nonymity is often the cloak of cowards.” These individuals can attack people online, lobby abuse, spread rumours and lies. Mark Zuckerberg is frequently quoted saying that Facebook was the “foundation of reality”, thus creating authenticity. Removing anonymity allows authors to receive credit for what they say.

Having multiple accounts, one private (closed) and having one professional (open) would surely give you the benefit of both worlds?

  • Protecting your reputation
  • Deciding where and how your information is shared
  • Maintaining your freedom
  • Reducing vulnerability

This resolution still does not help the creation of your personal identity. It still shows someone that is searching your digital footprint that you have something to hide. The solution would appear to be to publish more about yourself- to help the “Google” search of you to be positive. This will help keep your reputation and share more of your identity.

“The best solution is to be yourself. If that makes you uneasy, talk with your shrink. Better yet, blog about it.”


A. Gauthier., H. Goldman., P. Ward and A. Bianchi, (2014) “When These People Realized How Easily We Found Their Personal Info Online They Totally Freaked Out” Video of experiment. Date Accessed: 23.10.14

A. Krotoski, (2012) Online Identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?  The Guardian. Date Accessed: 23.10.14

A. Vingiano,  (2013) “This Is How A Woman’s Offensive Tweet Became The World’s Top Story” BuzzFeed. Date Accessed: 23.10.14

C.Costa., R. Torres, (2011) “To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society”  University of Salford. Date Accessed: 20.10.14

F.Harvey, (2013) “Identity and Privacy” Presentation. Date Accessed: 23.10.14

G. Jean-Malbuisson, (2014), Internet Society. Date Accessed: 23.10.14

J. Jarvis, (2011) “One identity or more?”, BuzzMachine. Date Accessed: 23.10.14

jetsetshow, (2010) 7 Steps To Building Your Online Identityvideo presentation. Date Accessed: 21.10.14

M., Clear, (2014) “Why should i reveal my ‘real identity’ online? Anonymity isn’t so terrible” The Guardian. Date Accessed: 23.10.14

M. Helft, (2011) “Facebook, Foe of Anonymity, Is Forced to Explain a Secret” The New York Times. Date Accessed: 23.10.14

S. Warburton, (2010) “Rhizone: digital identity matters” Kings College London. Date Accessed: 22.10.14

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