To learn a little bit more about online identity I decided to search for myself.
As predicted the first few results were my social media channels, there was however one result that was slightly disturbing (turns out there is a punk rock band called Kill Hannah)
Although I have tried so hard to ignore (going as far as to force my mum to remove all photos around the house) that I was once a chubby 13 year old with messy hair and braces, a quick google search has reminded me that the internet … like elephants never forgets. And although Myspace seems like a distant memory to many of us, I hate to break it to you but your profiles do still exist. One perk of having multiple online identities is that we often change as we grow up, and even though the embarrassing myself photos remain online, I was able to start-a-fresh by starting a Facebook profile
Caleb Garling makes an excellent point in that real life people react differently to different situations for example you behave differently with your boss than you do with your closest friends (Garling, 2011). So could we view different social media platforms as different real life scenarios?
Why is it so shocking that we have different online identities when we do just that in real life?
It allows us to express ourselves to differentaudiences how we think they want to see us. In a way, is this not just another form of marketing? We decide the content that we want to post on each site based on the audience we want it to reach. I know that potential employers don’t want to see photos of me out on a Friday night, so I leave those to Facebook and I know that people I used to go to school with don’t care if I’m skilled at Microsoft word or Powerpoint so I save that for LinkedIn
Of course there are negatives to having multiple online personas. Sites like Facebook use targeted advertising to appeal to each individual user. By having multiple online personas though companies aren’t able to truly understand our wants and needs and therefore what products we are most likely to buy. They can only ever appeal to one side of our personality
Another negative is that you can have as many profiles as you want and although most people use these to display different sides of their personality, many people use them to create a fake online identity(staciesdigitalmedia , 2011) . As mentioned before not only is it embarrassing that all your old photos exist online, you must be aware that you are not the only person who can access them. It’s not uncommon or illegal for someone to steal photos you’ve posted to the internet to set up a fake account (Phil, 2016). In fact it’s now so common that MTV have even managed to make a TV show about it. Although (according to the show) most people make these profiles because they are too insecure to upload their own photos, some people use these fake profiles to extort other people either for money or purely for their own amusement(onlineidentity25, 2011).
Just like catfishes on the hit MTV program everyone has an insecurity. A positive of multiple personas and the key reason I believe multiple online identities are better than one is to keep the guilty pleasures hidden.
I mean who wants to share their inner most thoughts with all 800 of their Facebook friends anyway ?
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