Do we really need to have more than one online identity?

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Source: Giphy

This post primarily focuses on online personas, arguing if there’s a need to have multiple online identities to determine professionalism for work against online identity for school, home and friends.

An online persona is how the world perceives you on the web. However, do we really need to have different identities for different purposes, such as one for work, another for school, another for home or another for friends?

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Source: Giphy

Internetsociety states that the real-world identity and online identity are different. The websites you’ve entered serves different purposes as well. For example, there’s a clear gap between one whom visits EBay vs. Google Finance. Hence, different online identities depict different messages to advertisers/marketers. These marketers ‘studies’ people’s online behavior and pops advertisements on their screen according to the things they’re interested in. The more insight of information marketers get, the more it would help them reach their target audience better – leading to them being more complete and thus having more control to the advertisements published on the audience’s screens.

Having multiple identities online do create professionalism. Here’s an article where I’ve come across warning us how poor management of online identity can affect employment. I’m sure no one would want their superior/bosses seeing how hard they’ve partied last Friday night right?
katy-perry-last-friday-night-Favim.com-293355

Source: Giphy

On the other hand, if the employee were to have a single identity on Facebook, it would help organisations do a faster run-through for employee’s persona whom they are going to hire and see if he/she is suitable for the job. Thus, organisations can see who exactly they are hiring and how they behave offline. Isn’t it more real then seeing a ‘fake’ identity where you have created specially for work with all those qualifications and past experiences? Honestly, I’ll prefer to hire someone for his/her enthusiastic personality than someone who owns straight A’s. This was further supported by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg stating “having two identities for yourself is an example of lack of integrity.” Being anonymous online means equal suspension too.

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Source: Giphy

Personally, I’m all in for single identity. I publish things that are part of my everyday life. I wouldn’t want to work for someone who wouldn’t hire me because of what I’ve posted on my Facebook page. A potential employer should look more into my craft than my image.

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Source: Tumblr

Don’t take it the negative way, but what I’ve felt was that having multiple identities are for people who are afraid to speak openly and just be real.

(409 words)

References:
Does your online persona match the real “you”? (Nathalie Lussier)
http://nathalielussier.com/blog/social-media/online-persona

Identity Driven Marketing: 5 Things You Need to Know (LoginRadius)
http://blog.loginradius.com/2015/08/identity-driven-marketing/

One identity or more? — BuzzMachine (BuzzMachine RSS)
http://buzzmachine.com/2011/03/08/one-identity-or-more/

3 Trends That Will Change the Future of Online Advertising (3 Trends That Will Change the Future of Online Advertising)
http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/05/04/future-of-online-advertising

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18 thoughts on “Do we really need to have more than one online identity?

  1. How’s it going Siew woon,

    After reading through your interesting blog post, I am elated that you are all in for single identity although I share the direct opposite view.

    You touched on the matter of “multiple identities are for people who are afraid to speak openly and just be real”, the immediate thought that comes right up my mind is “does being real even matter?” I know it’s unethical and the process of creating “perfect” online identities may seem to have a lack of integrity. However, I personally feel that in a ever changing world where competition is so immense, it is a necessary “evil” to show the “perfect” side of myself to my future employers.

    I believe that in this digital world, having a true identity is secondary. Whereas, it is crucial in being able to adapt and constantly change your identity in order to fit the situation.

    I strongly respect your stand on this topic, just trying to lure you to the “dark” side with my perspective on it!

    Like

  2. Hi Clinton, I’m great!

    Thanks for your comment. I personally think that business do have the rights to look at their potential employee’s professional and personal identities. So why make their life difficult by having multiple identities?

    Though this may be something people argue they shouldn’t do on the Internet, the reality is it is something to be aware of. It’s shouldn’t be hiding your real identity but instead, controlling who can view you, and what impression are these people (maybe your potential employer) make of you.

    People should learn to adapt into the “Facebook effect”. Whereby, employees portray themselves as a single image for both friends and co-workers. To think about it, it isn’t necessarily “evil” to show the “perfect” side of you, in fact it’s allowing employers to know you better. What it really matters is the things you’ve shared/comment/post online. If you are aware that this picture you attempt to publish would cause your reputation to be somewhat ruin for employment, shouldn’t you think twice before posting? Be it seen by your employer, co-workers or friends. For example, a negative comment post about my boss accent being too strong. Usually people with multiple identities would choose to post it on their private persona, but is it necessary to post such a comment? Wouldn’t your friends think otherwise of you? Wouldn’t your friends be extra careful when they hangout with you in the future? After all who wants to be the gossip topic. If you’re so afraid that your employers are going to see, aren’t you feeling more of guilt?

    Thus, it’s really the thought-process put through in publishing things you’re posting online that matters. Being on the Internet and social networks enable us to be seen across billions and trillions of people. So why hide the real you? However, I have a solution to you and my thoughts about having one or multiple identities. I know of a friend who changed his surname on Facebook in order to avoid being found by potential employers. All his information remained true, including pictures tagged. So I wouldn’t consider it a “fake” identity. He need not create another account to “please” his co-workers too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey thanks for sharing your deep insight in this matter!

      I totally agree and understand where your coming from, however, what i meant by creating the “perfect” online identity is more about only showing the good side.

      With the digital platform, I can easily create a digital profile showing myself to be “loving” the job or post pre-planned statements like “working on my project during the weekends” to show people that I am “hardworking”. I can even list that I am going to a particular career development talk on my profile, whereas in real life I am at home. All for the sake of creating a better image online with the exploitation of online identities..

      Hence I am not trying to “hide the real me”, but rather do you feel its correct to create a “desired me” that is beneficial to my real life physical being. All in all, I am happy that you took the time to write this very educational reply, I definitely learnt and picked up a lot of useful tips! especially your solution!.

      Thanks a lot and hope to see more of your insights in topic 3! Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Siew Woon,

    Firstly I admire your stand that “Potential employer should look more into my craft than my image”. Not that I disagree with your viewpoint, however there are jobs such as corporate communications whereby self-image is more crucial than self-craft.

    I would like to cite “Justine Sacco” as an example, where she is the senior director of corporate communications at IAC, in which one racist tweet caused her to lose her job. Therefore there are jobs whereby people need to consider the social pressure from the communities. Moreover, I had stated in my blog that “Behaviour is socially and culturally modelled while socially and culturally judged”.

    Secondly, you mentioned “I publish things that are part of my everyday life”, therefore should people be posting anything they want online and not thinking of the consequence? As marketers shouldn’t we should be constantly minded of our brand management in the ever changing environment.

    Lastly, feel free to discuss and I look forward to your constructive opinions!

    References:
    Ronson, J. (2015, February 14). How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html

    Like

    • Hi Wei Jie,

      Thanks for taking time in reading and commenting on my blog post. You’ve raised an interesting point about social and culture behaviours. Although I’m all in for having a single identity online, I’m still really concern about things I publish. I am aware that those things I’ve published are going to be read and viewed by both people I know and don’t. Some things I’ve posted online can be controlled by who is able to see but some just can’t. Hence, before publishing a comment/tweet/photo online, I’ll reconsider and think if it’s ethical or not.

      On the other hand, shouldn’t Justine Sacco think twice about the comment he has made before posting? Doesn’t he feel bad about posting such unethical-racist tweet? Yes, people should be themselves and the Internet is a free world to voice anything anyone feels like. But if the comment were to hurt someone else, I no longer think it’s okay to do so. All in all, I think it’s not something we should be arguing in saying if it’s right or wrong to say so and so on the internet, but rather be aware of what are we about to show the online world.

      People should definitely think of the consequences they are going to face, example are they are posting something unethical? Being unethical would also mean to hurt someone or destroy his or her reputation. By posting my everyday life would thus means that I’m sharing what’s happening in my life with my viewers. For example, I would post pictures on Instagram showing how my pet and nephews clique so well together. I personally think it’s how you want to portray yourself to others. All in all, I believe no one would want to ruin his or her own reputation.

      Like

  4. Hey Siew Woon,

    I enjoyed reading your blog post that is filled with so many interesting images! People who have multiple identities are “fake” and trying to be someone they want to be without being found out. Thats exactly how I feel!

    I may be someone who loves to party but when it comes to work, I am serious about it and have productive work. However, let’s be honest that employers have a higher chance of hiring you if they have a good first impression of you. If they happened to look at my social medias and all they see is someone who loves to party all day, I’m sure he would be thinking twice whether to hire me or not. This is where having multiple identities benefit me.

    I personally also prefer to have only one online identity as I want to be the same person offline and online.

    Like

    • Hi Pearlyn,

      Thanks for taking time in reading and commenting on my blog post. Really glad I’ve someone on my side that prefers having a single identity too. I think it’s really down to whom you want to portray behind the screen. I strongly agree with you saying that no employers would want to hire someone who party all day and all night. But let’s put the partying aside. An employer may also get a good first impression by looking at the private account of his or her potential employee. Afterall, an employer would want to get a well-rounded info about someone who they are going to be working with.

      Like

  5. hi Siew Woon, what a great post
    i definitely agree with you that we can survive with one identity and you give me more reason to integrate my identity. I also don’t want to be hired and working closely with thus that can’t accept me for who i am.
    On your second paragraph, you got mention the relation between our identity and marketers. Do you think it is easier for marketers to cater our needs better when we have separate identity or one integrate identity ?

    Like

    • Hi Silviana,

      Nice seeing you, thank you for taking time to read and comment on my blog post. I really appreciate you agreeing on having single identity.

      In my opinion, having an integrated identity would create ease for marketers to get the necessary information. However, having a separate identity can create different viewpoints for marketers to research on. So back to speaking about which is easier for marketers to cater our need, it would definitely goes to having an integrate identity!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Siew Woon!

    What a unique perspective. While majority of us are supporting having multiple online identities, you have explained clearly the down side of having multiple online identities.

    I would agree that many of us like to think that having multiple identities helps create professionalism, we don’t present ourselves in our truest form and only choose to show people what they like to see. Like perhaps on our Linked-in profile, we show all our qualifications, achievements and relevant experience and nothing else.

    However there are consequences of having a single online identity such as a qualified person applying for a job with an embarrassing photo of themselves on their personal Facebook, I’m sure the employer would think twice before hiring them.

    I understand your view and do agree with them, perhaps good management of what they put online will help minimize that and still portrays person’s true self? ☺

    Word Count: 150

    Cheers.

    Like

  7. Hello Siew Woon I will like to say that the last sentence of your blogpost did struck me a little.

    “Don’t take it the negative way, but what I’ve felt was that having multiple identities are for people who are afraid to speak openly and just be real”.

    I was reminded of my friend whom studies abroad in the United Kingdom as written in my blogpost. She has multiple identity that is -two Instagram accounts, but yet she is someone I still consider genuine. It isn’t that she is afraid to show the world how she feels but she is just being cautious to what and who she wants to share her personal stuff with.

    Her stuff are real, but she chooses who to be real to.

    We all know that in today’s world, things online can be fabricated, people do things to gain your attention and your sympathy. Even advertisements have their own ulterior motive. Therefore, this brings me to conclude that having a multiple identity does not mean the person is unreal and fake but it is whom she chooses to be real to.

    Lastly, would you lean on my side agreeing that my friend is real too?

    Like

    • Hi Calanthea,

      Thank you for taking time to read and comment on my blog post.
      Yes, I’m sure that your friend is real too. However, something that I didn’t understand was why would she create extra trouble in managing two Instagram accounts? Can’t the both Instagram accounts be merge into one? Or are there things in the public Instagram account that she owns that are not nice to be shared with others? This creates suspicion.

      All in all, I think it’s the things you want to share online that really matters, but just be aware that people you might not know have the chance to see what you have published on these social medias too. Furthermore, we can’t promise that our private account can’t be exposed by people whom we already knew about from our public account. It’s really easy to know how many social medias one owns by simply taking a little extra effort.

      Like

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