DIGITAL IDENTITIES

Advantages and disadvantages of having more than one online identity.

Almost everyone that uses the Internet has at least one online profile. What is an online profile? “Digital identity is the network or Internet equivalent to the real identity of a person or entity (like a business or government agency) when used for identification in connections or transactions from PCs, cell phones or other personal devices.”  Examples of online profiles are networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or even online blogs.

Personally, I wouldn’t argue that having more than one online profile is a bad thing. Especially if the reason is purely because the individual doesn’t want their personal details being accessible to the rest of the population. I completely agree with Julia Allison when she argues “we should maintain many identities – one for work, another for school, another for home, another for friends”(Jarvis, J, 2011). I can certainly associate myself with this as I have two twitter accounts as of just recently. I use one for my social and personal use, and use the other for my university assessments and participation. It is important to me to be able to divide my social life from my professional life as I am studying as a student teacher and believe that my social life online should be kept out of reach to children. It wouldn’t be professional of me to leave my profile easily accessible for anyone, as this could cause many problems, some even jeopardising my career. A second advantage of having more than one online identity is due to employment reasons. It is easy enough for anyone to type your full name into Google in order to find out details and information, sometimes personal and it is most likely that any potential employer will be intrigued about how you portray yourself online. They will be looking to employ someone who is responsible and able to advertise their company. “According to surveys, about three-quarters of recruiters check out applicants on the Internet when hiring, and almost half of all employers do the same. Employers report rejecting job applicants when they find references to drug use, heavy drinking, sexually offensive materials, violent imagery, and so on.” (L, Guerin). This means that they will be able to see everything you post, including your tweets, personal opinions and even your pictures, maybe sometimes bordering on inappropriate. This is why I see having more than one online profile to be advantageous, as it divides up your social life and professional life, sometimes for professional reasons such as studying something specific at university that could be conflicted or applying for jobs.

Although I agree with having more than one online profile, there are disadvantages about the subject. As social networking sites are constantly changing, this can be seen as a bad thing to people that have or have previously had more than one online profile. The individual may have had a second profile in which they no longer use and have in fact forgotten about. This can lead to the personal information on these forgotten profiles to be seen and possibly used by others. Another advantage could be losing track of your online profiles. Depending on how many social networking profiles you have, it can hard to keep track of all of them, including passwords and including who out of the public can see each profile. It is important for the individual to be conscious when using each profile as some personal information or pictures can be accidentally posted on the wrong profile, for example, your professional one.

Overall, I believe having more than one online profile can be advantageous for many reasons, even though they are many disadvantages to go along with it. Thinking about my circumstances, I believe it to be a beneficial idea for me to divide my personal life from my social life as it could possibly jeopardise my career when I qualify as a teacher.

References;

http://www.justaskgemalto.com/en/node/4812

(Jarvis, J. 2011)

http://buzzmachine.com/2011/03/08/one-identity-or-more/

(Guerin, L)

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-potential-employers-check-your-facebook-page.html

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