|Topic 2|Is this all me? #MANG2049

Untitled-1.jpg

“Can you introduce yourself?”

Sure! Do you want to know the Twitter Teresa, Facebook Teresa, LinkedIn Teresa or the Instagram Teresa?

Your online identity is made up of multiple partial identities, from the persona you create to represent yourself, the interactions you make with different websites (Internet Society) to the identities created by everyone else that has access to your information (Costa, Torres, 2011). Like many others, I possess a number of different identities online. The question is does this do me more harm than good?

social-searchers-infographiccropped
Taken from Online Colleges

This is a section of an infographic by Online Colleges that shows how employers are increasingly utilizing social media in the hiring process.

This phenomenon creates an increasing need for people to create a curated version of themselves online to make themselves more hireable to potential employers. This is when people may decide to apply an Audience strategy where they separate their professional and personal networks, hence resulting in multiple online identities. (Ollier-Malaterre and Rothbard, 2015).

Perhaps, one may think that having multiple online identities will help separate their professional life from their personal. But could they be setting a trap for themselves?

google.jpg

A simple Google search of my name produced a mix result that showed links to my personal blogs, Facebook and Twitter account and professional Twitter account. The Internet does not help you filter out what content is for your professional or personal purposes.

PERCENTAGE.jpg

The graphic depicts how well Internet users manage their online identities. (Madden, Fox, Smith, Vitak, 2007)

This is where the danger of having multiple online identities comes in. Everyone, including myself, MUST learn how to manage our online identities, or we may end up like Cella(Flacy,2015), a Texas teenager that got fired from her job about cursing about it on Twitter.

Putting aside the concern about professionalism and employment, one advantage of having multiple online identities is that it allows you to join different communities based on different interests. Danah Boyd, a social media researcher for Microsoft Research said “Different sites, different audiences, different purposes.” (Nicole Lee, 2016) With our diverse lifestyle, each individual has a myraid of experiences that are uncommon to some and relatable to others.

I personally prefer to have multiple online identities as it allows me to express myself and look at things in different perspectives. As long as I am watchful about my words, I see no problem in having varying online identities.

Word Count: 400 Words

Internet Society, Online Identity-An Overview, http://www.internetsociety.org//sites/default/files/flash/online_identity_overview/story.html, [Accessed on 7 November 2016]

Costa Cristina, Torres Ricardo, 2011,To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society, http://eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/view/216/126, [Accessed on 7 November 2016]

Megan O’Neill, 17 May 2012, How to Use Social Media to Land a Great Job Or Internship [Infographic], http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/social-media-job-internship-infographic/97490?red=st, [Accessed on 7 November 2016]

Ariane Ollier-Malaterre, Nancy Rothbard, 26 March 2015, How to Seperate the Personal and Professional on Social Media, https://hbr.org/2015/03/how-to-separate-the-personal-and-professional-on-social-media, [Accessed on 7 November 2016]

Mary Madden, Susannah Fox, Aaron Smith, Jessica Vitak, 16 December 2007, Digital Footprints, http://www.pewinternet.org/2007/12/16/digital-footprints/, [Accessed on 7 November 2016]

Mike Flacy, 11 Feburary 2015, Teen gets fired on Twitter after cursing about her new job,
http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/teen-gets-fired-twitter-cursing-new-job/#ixzz4PKe40OK9 , [Accessed on 7 November 2016]

Nicole Lee, 3 April 2016, Having multiple online identities is more normal then you think, https://www.engadget.com/2016/03/04/multiple-online-identities/, [Accessed on 7 November 2016]

 

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23 thoughts on “|Topic 2|Is this all me? #MANG2049”

  1. Hey Teresa,

    Good post on online identity and privacy! Your use of (superb!) visuals and infographics really eased me into reading and understanding your points. I also liked how you gave examples of what multiple identities can be, as I had the initial misconception that my identities only exist when I have an account on that platform, and update it regularly.

    However, I feel that online profiles do not necessarily have to be separated (or filtered, as you mentioned) into two camps – professional and personal. Do you think there is a possibility that they could coexist simultaneously?

    For example, @tjinlee, a businesswoman, has both personal photos of her family (especially her two adorable sons) and lifestyle, as well as updates on her recent project – Singapore Fashion Week.

    In fact, I believe that some employers may want to see a side other than the standard hardselling of KSAOs, to assess if you’d take well to the company’s culture. To me, congruency is key. Your thoughts? 🙂

    Cheers,
    Renee

    Like

    1. Hi Renee!

      Thank you for your comment, it got me expanding my thoughts (I have been so bent on deciding which is a better side to take.)
      I think my take on your question is that it is more a choice and less a necessity for people to separate their lives online. Like I mentioned in my post, there are certain dangers that comes a long with not separating your professional and personal life, as well as not managing your identities well should you decide to separate them. However, like the example you gave of @tjinlee, a single coherent identity may bring benefits to them, especially so if they work in the lifestyle industry. In fact it may be more important that they stick to a single identity for their brand management. You raised a good point about companies wanting to find out how well you’d take to the company culture through their online persona. This, frankly did not occur to me!

      In the end, I think it all boils down to always practicing careful and ethical exchanges on the web. This way, there really is no great issue on having one or many online identities.

      Thank you for your comment Renee!

      Like

  2. Hi Teresa!

    Great blog post on managing online identities! I especially enjoy the graphics that you created to help readers understand the topic better. The Google search for your name as an example also helped me to realise that our online identities are not so hidden after all! I believe that we must really be careful of what we say on the Internet.

    From the info graphic that you provided above, it was found, there’s a higher percentage of employers looking at Facebook instead of LinkedIn! Resulting from this, do you think individuals would take to creating different Facebook accounts, each for professional and personal purposes? Or would they try to “tidy up” their single identity Facebook account by becoming an ideal person of who they think the employer wants to see just to score the job? By keeping up the pretence, perhaps this wouldn’t be a great long-term plan. What do you think?

    Anyway, keep up the great post! (:

    Dawn

    (161 words)

    Like

    1. Hi Dawn!

      Thanks for your compliment!
      I think creating different Facebook accounts is by itself a rather tricky thing to do, especially because the concept of Facebook is for you to use your authentic name to connect with people you know. This means that should your employer search your name on Facebook, both accounts would appear and that could make it look like you have something to hide instead. I would agree with creating multiple accounts for other social accounts like Instagram or Twitter, but not Facebook due to the nature of this social platform. I do not think they have to go to the extend of becoming an ‘ideal person’ but more of simply being careful about what they put online. After all, authenticity of your character will show up in real life and being a different person on and offline might end up being detrimental instead.

      Thank you for your time Dawn~

      Like

  3. Hey TJones!

    Thank you for an interesting post! I love how you have divided your points, backed it up using statistics and your own experience for better understanding.

    I agree with you that with the ever changing world, everyone is updated with the latest news about someone else. As humans, we are intrigued by many things and our interest can change overtime. This is why having multiple online identities may help many to connect with like minded people, for example having an interest in Calligraphy, that can eventually evolve into a community. I believe it is something that is currently happening on Instagram where there are different types of self-curated communities with strangers coming together based on the same interest they have. Such a brilliant idea right?

    Ultimately don’t you think if the intention and motive is right, having multiple online identities would not be a problem after all?

    Love,
    Juls

    (149 words)

    Like

    1. Hi Juls!
      Thank you for your comment 🙂 Definitely, I am growing to see that having multiple online identities is not a problem but instead a privilege the web has given us. The main issue always boils down to how we manage these identities, just like how we manage our real life identities which I believe we all possess more than one. The very fact that we have created Twitter accounts for this module is already the creation of another identity, and this has definitely benefited us than do us harm. Sometimes, creating these separate identities allows us to focus on what we have to work on for a particular interest, and I do not see how that will create a problem as it is merely another trait that we get to learn about someone else.

      Thank you for relaying your opinions to me 🙂

      Like

  4. Hi Teresa!

    You have highlighted about the few social profiles that employers will take note before hiring. This point is important for university students like us to realise, and it also helped to remind us about our behavior in the internet. Based on the Texas teenager incident, you have, again, allow to realise how a negative comment about the company can cause us to lose that opportunity, especially with our intern coming up in June.

    You mentioned that as long as one is being careful with words, it is alright to have multiple online identities. However, I only agree to an extent. Many users have several identities as an opportunity to show their true selves without hiding, but if one still has to be careful. Then, will that actually cause another form of stress towards the individual?

    Overall, I really enjoy reading about your opinions on having online identities and the effect it may have when we enter the corporate world.

    Xin Hui

    P.S. I will just like to say the way you utilize graphics in your posts to emphasize on the key points is amazing!!

    Like

    1. Hi Xin Hui!
      Thank you for your comment 🙂 I understand your concern about creating additional stress towards an individual that may have not existed if an individual has only a single identity. It is true that the more outlets you have, the more areas you have to tread carefully. However, I feel that when we are discussing about this, we tend to naturally assume the extremes of things. For example in this case, how we might accidentally say something ‘bad’ and that we have to be careful about posting something that may potentially damage our reputation. However in the first place, you created these separate identities in order to share your different interests with others. I do not see why you may have to stress too much about being ‘careful’ with what you say because you started off with a good intention. I will like to believe that majority of people are good natured people are simply seeking outlets to share their thoughts and interests. Unless we are talking about cyberbullying, I think that the stress in unnecessary. If someone is one to potentially say something bad then it is possible that he or she will do that offline too. This, I believe is an issue of ethics and values as a person. So overall, I do not think having multiple identities will cause too much stress on an individual with regards to being careful with your actions.
      Thank you for your question! It really did trigger some thoughts in me hahhaa. And thank you for your compliment as well 😀 😀 😀

      Like

  5. Hi Teresa, it was a good read and a concise post broken down into bite sizes for our easy understanding.
    The Google Search on your name was an excellent demonstration on how our multiple identities can co-exist on Google. May I clarify on the your comment that ” As long as I am watchful about my words, I see no problem in having varying online identities.” Apart from words, if we also do not pay careful attention to what we are posting, could this lead to a situation where become conflicting personas, esp if we say different things at the same time ? For example, in the closely watched US Election, if Person A were to express support for Trump in Facebook because he knows his friends in Facebook are fans of Trump, whereas on the other hand, the same person explicitly makes it clear that he is supporting Clinton on say, Twitter because his other friends in Twitter are supporting Clinton. He wanted to blow where the wind blows to stay well liked. Though he is politically correct, with his words, but if someone were to see his conflicting persona on social media, what would the person perceived Person A to be ?

    These are my thoughts

    Like

    1. Hi Nobusato!
      Thank you for your post 🙂
      Hmmm definitely, having multiple online identities will increase the possibility of one having conflicting personas. However, I believe that the issue you raised is not something that is restricted to the online world, but something that will happen both online as well as offline. This, to me, is an issue of the need for validation that a person has! Of course, should the person really portray conflicting personas online, it will definitely leave an untrustworthy impression on his or her readers. I will, however, not call that a danger caused by having multiple online identities, but simply a grave that the user dug for him or herself.

      Thank you for your thought-provoking question Nobu 🙂

      Like

  6. Hi Teresa!

    Likewise I agree with you that having multiple online identities allow us to create a better image of ourselves and make us more hireable (Also, thanks for teaching me a new term for separating professional and personal networks – Audience strategy). However, I did not think that it could be setting a trap for ourselves as well! It made me realised how vulnerable we are on the Internet and how most of us are rather clueless on the digital footprints we leave.

    A point that you mentioned got me thinking, and that is, having multiple online identities allows people to join different communities based on different interests. However, I believe that we are able to do the same even with a single online identity? It does not stop us from exploring the different communities and our interests. For example, we can indicate our various interests on our Facebook profile and attract a diverse variety of communities with one account.

    Let me know your thoughts! 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Liting!
      Thank you for your comments 🙂 I definitely agree with you that we can do the same with a single identity. In fact, the example that your raised about Facebook is a very good option to meet people of various interest easily as all your information is consolidated in one place. Definitely, it is possible with a single account. I guess what I had in mind was how people makes use of different platforms for varying interests, like Tumblr, Amazon or Instagram. I believe many people like us own accounts on other platforms outside of Facebook as well and these platforms are not as comprehensive as Facebook is but are instead more targetted. Hence, my conclusion that it is really subjective between people if they prefer to have a single identity like Facebook to explore their interests or multiple identities on different platforms to gain more targetted involvement and experiences.

      Like

  7. Hello Teresa, very comprehensive entry on online identity. They way you structure it brings me through the points one by one with a good flow (Thumb’s up).

    I agree with you on the rise of multiple identities, people creating another account for professional reasons. I would like to add on that it would not be fair if an employer decides your hiring based on the personal pages on Facebook, etc. I think there is no link between them, which is why more people are making professional accounts.
    From which you added that the more identities you create online, the more confusing it is for people to find you because which is the real you. I also think this is true, but with proper managing of accounts, it is possible to have the right info for the right personal looking for you.
    I would also like to state that having more identities also increases the chance of online bullying or privacy breach as you mentioned using multiple identities allows for joining communities online. Sometimes you just don’t know where your information are online and who might use it against you, even with anonymity, it can still be trackable back to your personal profiles.

    Well this are just my views, I am for multiple identities as well.

    Like

    1. Hi Jia Jiun!
      Thank you for your comment 🙂 Definitely, it will not be fair if an employer decides to hire you or not based on the personal pages on Facebook. Perhaps I should have made it clearly that what I meant was if an employer decides not to hire you because they come across something bad on your personal Facebook that reflects negatively about you. If your Facebook is absent of any offensive material but simply more about your life and interest, then it should not be a huge component in the hiring process, though it will definitely still play a part in forming an impression of you. I agree with how having multiple identities will increase the chances of online bullying or privacy breach! I personally am often very worried with regards to my online privacy. The anonymity of the web further swells these dangers. I do want to highlight that steps have been done to help alleviate this problem, for example tips and articles on how to protect your privacy or what to do when you experience cyberbullying. I do admit however that this is not a problem we can fully eradicate.
      Thank you very much for your insights Jia Jiun!

      Like

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