The more the merrier?

The proliferation of social media technology has driven the digital space towards an emergence of new landscape. Beyond a consumer-targeted space, we see the opportunities for individuals to create online identities and socialize behind their computers. One may also create multiple identities such as using fake or anonymous names. And these multiple identities exist online as an individual’s persona even if an individual goes offline.

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Undeniably, multiple online identities challenge the effective management. Although it possesses potential to reach out to a wider audience, the unstandardized image or identity may harm the reputation and credibility of the business. Canon UK is an example that illustrates the failure of online identities on Twitter and Facebook (but a growing success on Instagram), taking the social responses in consideration. Therefore, it raises the question that perhaps multiple online identities are not efficient in lasting social ramifications.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, believes that the social network’s success is attributed to the authenticity in displaying the offline life of an individual. In other words, “you are online whom you are offline” – there is only one identity. Hereby, Facebook’s philosophy reflects the argument against for having more than one online identity and an individual is not encouraged to create multiple, anonymous or pseudonymous account for any purpose. Profiles are registered with the real names of an individual and connections are mutually verified. The “Facebook Connect” service has also mirrored its belief with the tying back to the single identity on Facebook.

Having said that, Chris Pole argues that individuals are akin to diamonds that look different depending on the angle. Goffman’s theory supports his statement; and managing online identities is more of a practice rather than the representation of an authentic static identity. Depending on the context, individuals may exhibit different behaviour online and that does not equalize to an unauthentic identity.

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(Yu, 2013)

Therefore, multiple online identities may open up new possibilities. For instance, the identities may better engage targeted audience with niche content. Usage of a pseudonymous name (an additional online identity) may minimise the curb of social factors and for an individual, perhaps this is also a solution in increasing various types of work being recognized by community of similar interests. Separate professional and social identity may put an individual in a better position of highlighting his achievements and experiences instead of social life. Linkedin accounts are often owned by many individuals for potential job opportunities while keeping their personal views on other accounts such as Facebook.

In conclusion, I believe that the benefits of multiple online identities outweigh the drawbacks and hence supports the statement. Manage your multiple online identities wisely and many opportunities will knock on your door.

444 Words

References

Cassidy, S., Carolyn, H., Timothy, B. and Jeffrey, P. (2015). Anonymity, pseudonymity, and the agency of online identity: Examining the social practices of r/Gonewild. First Monday, 20(3).

Megan, C. (2015). Multiple Personalities And Social Media: The Many Faces of Me. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2011/01/26/multiple-personalities-and-social-media-the-many-faces-of-me/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2015].

Yu, D. (2013). LinkedIn Newsfeed Ads vs Facebook Newsfeed Ads- we compared results! – BlitzMetrics. [online] BlitzMetrics. Available at: https://blitzmetrics.com/linkedin-newsfeed-ads-vs-facebook-newsfeed-ads-we-compared-results/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2015].

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5 thoughts on “The more the merrier?”

  1. Hi Yishin!

    I think you’ve made a good point about effective management when it comes to multiple online identities. The idea of being able to create different representations of oneself may excite an individual, but effective management is commonly overlooked. It is crucial for the online identities to keep up and complement each other, especially for business establishing online presence. The identities should work well together in contributing to a lasting overall impression.

    It is interesting to see that you view multiple online identities as platform to gain new opportunities, whether for business or personal life and i do agree that the benefits of having multiple online identities outweigh the drawbacks. It is still important, however, that you do not lose yourself amidst creating multiple identities online. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Like

  2. Hello Yishin! 😊 I’m glad we share some similar views and understanding about managing multiple online identities. I agree with you that the benefits may outweigh the costs. It can even help sparks one’s creativity and lead to many opportunities. However, managing multiple accounts and identities online, would it be confusing at times? What if you accidentally mixed them up? I feel that even if it’s an account for social life, individuals should still keep it as professional as possible, be cautious. After all, what you contribute online will be almost impossible to take off even if the account is deleted. What is your view on these?

    Well…I do enjoy your post! And I look forward to your reply! 😉 Cheers!

    Like

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