This week’s topic made me realise how and why we maintain the identities we have. My creativity skills are improving, as illustrated with the juggling analogy in my post. Infographics created are more clear and concise.
My comment on Natalie’s post explored the ways that we can privatise our identities, to prevent any malicious activity. Her reply made me realise that it is impossible to make our online identities completely private. However, precautions can be taken to minimise identity theft, such as adding only people you know.
Surprisingly, the average number of Facebook friends a user has is 338 (Smith, 2014). This already shouts concern- do we need to connect with all of them, especially if we only talk to a handful? I am guilty of this, having 828 friends but probably only talking to a handful. To protect my identity, I know I need to remove irrelevant users.
Furthermore, Shreya’s post made me question the integrity of our identities- can we truly maintain separate, non-overlapping identities? This is where anonymous identities are useful, providing us a way to ‘hide’ our profile on the web (Clear, 2014).
Moreover, online networks may be untrustworthy, with ‘screenshots’ becoming progressively common (Hodkinson, 2016). Conversations can be shown to users, damaging one’s reputation and identity.
As a result, I edited my self-test completed at the start of the module. I feel that I do not maintain my online identity securely, nor do I manage my profiles effectively.
In conclusion, I believe that multiple online identities provides us flexibility with our profiles. We can choose to integrate profiles, or keep them independent. Maintaining multiple profiles has been effective for me, and I intend to keep my identities separate. However, the security of our identities is at risk, and it always will be.
Online profiling is a popular method to publicly advertise personal characteristics and interests. However, users may have several identities across multiple platforms, rather than one consistent identity (FutureLearn, 2017).
Do We Need Online Identities?
In society, learning has migrated to a more digitalised platform, where users can create and access content online (Costa & Torres, 2011). The increase of social media usage indicates the variety of methods used to exchange information (Pew Research Center, 2018).
Users cannot simply use books to obtain information. A wider scope is required. As discussed in topic 2, online identities enhance ‘networked’ learning, allowing further discussions with other members (Futurelearn, 2017).
Single vs Multiple Identities
Building a professional and a personal profile is the key to success. It provides different channels of communication that should not intertwine with each other.
However, users often forget about their ‘different identities’. Public platforms such as Twitter often contains users who post irresponsible ‘tweets’. The encouragement of ‘trending’ topics can further expose users, revealing their backstory and lifestyle. Sacco was just one of the many to experience this unfortunate event (Ronson, 2012). This emphasises the point: think twice before you speak.
It is up to the individual’s discretion whether they want to maintain one or multiple online identities. Personal profiles can be kept casual and private. Professional profiles should be available to all users on the Web, to enhance career prospects.
However, authenticity of profiles remains an issue for both adults and children . For example, gaming profiles contain deceptive information, manipulating content to mislead users (Tsikerdekis & Zeadally, 2014). Can we really tell when a profile is deceiving?
Managing multiple identities is like juggling. The more items you juggle, the more risk you take with your actions. The fewer the items, the more control you maintain. Which type are you?