Online Identities – Behind The Keyboard

We all represent ourselves differently online and depending on the platform and our digital differences, we assume different online identities. The type of online identity we assume will directly affect what we post, share and contribute to our personal learning networks.

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Created by Adrian Kamulegeya using Piktochart

Authenticity

Single identity users are seen to be authentic whereas those who use multiple identities are not and could possibly be using anonymous accounts. However, Facebook’s director of policy in Europe, Richard Allan, argues that ‘pretend identities’ are a minority now and the web has become more mainstream (Allan, 2012) – indicating having some anonymous accounts is not a problem.

Anonymity

In fact in a BBC report about the dark web, Bruce Schneier argues that it provides a shield to those who can be punished based on online activity (Schneier, 2016), however it can also easily hide criminals online, even if not intended (Oerting, 2016). Having multiple identities can provide more security to the average user, but someone with bad motives will also get the same benefit.

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Created by Adrian Kamulegeya using Piktochart

Employability

Employers nowadays use platforms like LinkedIn to recruit their staff with the user count for the website at 467 million in the third quarter of 2016 (Statista, 2016). Single identity users are easier to find but risk showing personal information you don’t want to show your employer, whereas multiple identity users find it easy to manage professional and personal accounts but risk lacking the authenticity that is needed. Furthermore employers may want to see your personal life. Outlets such as blogging can show creativity, passion and motivation which are all redeeming qualities looked for by an employer (The Employable, 2014).

Of course the choice of how you present yourself is yours, and we can’t control everything on the web. However that won’t stop how others perceive you – that job, primarily, is on you.

Word Count: 316


References:

Krotoski, A. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

BBC Guides. (2016). What is the dark web and is it a threat?. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z9j6nbk [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

Statista. (2016). Number of LinkedIn users | Statista. [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/274050/quarterly-numbers-of-linkedin-members/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

TheEmployable. (2014). How blogging can help you get a job. [online] Available at: http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

 

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14 thoughts on “Online Identities – Behind The Keyboard

  1. Hi Adrian, thanks for this post – it was a good read and the summary graphic is really useful. You mention Facebook’s director of policy mentioning his belief that authentic identities are increasing, or words to that effect. What’s your opinion on this? I know that a number of newspapers, including perhaps most notably the Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/help/ng-interactive/2017/mar/17/contact-the-guardian-securely) allow secure communication. I wonder if, as you do start to hint at, authentic identities are not quite as wide-spread as we thought? With the full out from Cambridge Analytica too, I think people are choosing not to show their full identity online for sure.

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    1. Hi Tom, thanks for commenting.

      I think that, as you would expect, there are more authentic identities than non-authentic ones which is what Richard Allan is claiming. However, that article is more than 5 years old and a lot has changed on the Internet since then. So this is not to say that non-authentic identities aren’t on the rise as we’ve seen in recent times with cat-fishing and social media accounts impersonating other people. Your point that people are choosing not to show their full identity may be derived from cyber-bullying or lack of self confidence or people just aren’t comfortable putting themselves out there online.

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  2. Hi Adrian,

    I really enjoyed reading your post about online identities this week. I particularly liked the use of graphics throughout the post.

    Having seen in the news recently ( http://time.com/5008076/nyc-terror-attack-isis-facebook-russia/ ) that some terrorist attacks have been planned online, I think that the ability to have anonymous or “fake” accounts on some social media sites is definitely something that needs further consideration by the government. I understand that under some circumstances anonymity is actually a good thing – whether it be someone who is experiencing abuse from a partner and seeking help or an individual pursuing a hobby that would affect their career. However, I still think more harm than good often comes from this.

    What is your personal view on anonymity online?

    I look forward to reading your future blog posts!

    Joanna

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    1. Hi Joanna, thanks for the comment!

      I think anonymity is a tricky subject and kind of serves as a double edged sword. We need it for some people who may be in danger based on what they post online, but at the same time it provides a virtual shield to malicious people who only desire harm. The government, as well as social media platforms, should do more to screen and flag content that could be dangerous but still allow people to have anonymous accounts for their own safety. I personally choose not to be anonymous because I want people to know me online as I would be in person, how about you?

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      1. Hi Adrian,

        Yeah, I totally agree with you on this. There is too much “fake” on the internet right now that I think it pays to be as authentic as possible online. I for one won’t be thinking about make multiple or anonymous accounts any time soon!

        Joanna

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  3. Hi Adrian,

    Great post, your layout and graphics appear very professional and polished.

    You mentioned the dark web, and the benefits of the shield of anonymity it provides, however it also can be exploited to hide criminals. The dark web has allowed for the rise of many illegal activities and services to move into the online world. Drug smuggling, firearm purchase, child pornography and even hitman services are easily accessible to anyone who downloads Tor and a bitcoin wallet. Do you think that overall the dark web is a positive addition to the online space or does it bring more trouble than its worth?

    Sam

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    1. Thanks for commenting!

      I agree that it definitely provides a virtual blanket for criminals to do criminal activity. However one way or another, criminals will find a way to commit crimes. I think it’s important to protect those that are in danger from what they post online and we should allow people to be able to communicate without fear of being tracked or monitored at all times. I think it’s a positive addition with unfortunate setbacks that people will manipulate. What do you think? Should we abolish the idea of the dark web?

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      1. I agree with you on this. While there are many illegal aspects of the dark web, the anonymity and web freedom it provides are too valuable to our advancing society. For this reason I think it would be a bad idea to abolish the idea of the dark web.

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