Topic 2

Topic 2: The many faces of me: Different sites, different audiences, different purposes.

In this week’s post, I will discuss multiple online identities; I acknowledge that this topic is broad in scope and is also akin to privacy and fake identities. However, the aim of my post is to highlight the benefits of having the appropriate number of online profiles and underline where multiple identities can equally become obsessive and counterproductive.

(Butler, 2010) theory of Performative Identity (1) is a great premise for exploring online identity in further depth. This theory illustrates that social networking is a platform where identity is established and maintained; additionally, identity is an ongoing process that is consistently being built. Correspondingly, the constant development of identity has resulted in the formation of partial online identities where, people adopt strategies to control disclosure of the multiple facets of their character. Frequently, this includes creating separate personal and professional online profiles such as Facebook for friends and LinkedIn for work colleagues as demonstrated in Figure 1. However, in extreme cases several personal profiles are created on one platform to accommodate different audiences. This is supported by research which found that participants divided qualities of themselves to conform and fit in online (2); suggesting that multiple online personas are adopted because of the desire to always project the best version of the self. Notwithstanding, this leads me to question whether social networking has complicated the concept of identity? which will be further explored in Table 1.

the-many-faces-of-me

Figure 1. Displays my multiple online identities

                                                         Multiple online identities
Pros Cons
  • Makes what you say seem more believable
  • Take the pressure off having a perfect feed
  • Control over professional appearance
  • Anonymity
  • Less risk of identity theft
  • Less authentic
  • Anonymity
  •   You can’t build a positive online reputation through creation content
  • Can never be sure of a person’s persona it is always curated
  • Social ramifications: makes it difficult to be a complete person offline
  • Maintaining separate accounts on different websites
  • Many tabs open
  • The identities that people define in the social web are not necessarily facets of their offline self
  • Reduces your online presence

 

Table 1. displays the pros and cons of multiple identities

Furthermore, by encouraging people to adopt several online personas, it makes it difficult to detect authenticity. Although, Facebook include using a fake name as an abuse to their statement of rights and responsibility (3) catfishing has become an increasing issue; especially with greater awareness brought to it through the mainstream TV show Catfish. In contrast, merging online identities to a single profile may also propose problems which can compromise career prospects. This is evidenced by the case of Paris Brown (4), the UKs first youth police and crime commissioner; who shortly resigned from the post after the criticism received from the racist and homophobic tweets that she had previously made. Although, such language is unacceptable in any circumstance, this example demonstrates why having separate online identities can be of benefit.

 

Overall, there is an undeniable logic to multiple online identities; we are not one-dimensional beings and as the offline and online world assimilate the various facets of our personalities should be reflected. However, this discourse also presents limitations where the obsession of creating several online profiles to appeal to multiple audiences seems a lot like Harry Potters: Lord Voldemort who breaks his soul into fragile pieces through his attempt at immortality (5). Therefore, the number of online identities should be kept to a controllable minimum to fully exploit its benefits.

 

Word Count: 403

References

1. Butler, J. (2010) ‘PERFORMATIVE AGENCY’, Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(2), pp. 147–161. doi: 10.1080/17530350.2010.494117.
2. Naegele, K.D. and Goffman, E. (1956) ‘The presentation of self in everyday life’, American Sociological Review, 21(5), p. 631. doi: 10.2307/2089106.

3. https://www.facebook.com/terms

4. BBC (2013) Paris Brown: Kent youth PCC resigns after Twitter row. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22083032 (Accessed: 26 February 2017).

5. Casserly, M. (2011) Multiple personalities and social media: The many faces of me. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2011/01/26/multiple-personalities-and-social-media-the-many-faces-of-me/2/#414169954573 (Accessed: 26 February 2017).

Figure references

Figure 1. self-produced on Microsoft Powerpoint

Powerpoint produced on Google Slides

Definitions: Internetsociety (2012) An overview of identity. Available at: https://www.internetsociety.org/sites/default/files/Understanding%20your%20Online%20Identity%20An%20Overview%20of%20Identity.pdf (Accessed: 26 February 2017).

YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAZCx-N1dss

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3 thoughts on “Topic 2: The many faces of me: Different sites, different audiences, different purposes.

  1. Hi Raziya, I really enjoyed your blog this week and thought your use of different forms of media was excellently employed to convey different ideas (particularly the google slides for definitions). One bit of constructive criticism is you may wish to break up your paragraphs so that it’s easier to read in the future, but this takes nothing away from a brilliant blog this week.

    Your use of a pros/cons list provides a clear outline on the topic and allows the reader to quickly gauge their own personal opinion. In addition, the use of modern culture (Catfish and Harry Potter references) I believe successfully grips readers of our generation.

    Finally, I will ask what do you think is the best way for authenticity to be detected online? Whilst you mention Facebook doesn’t allow for accounts with fake names, there was a big scandal with Facebook deleting real accounts (represented real names) as the computer deemed their name fake. So do you think it’s ever going to be possible to completely authenticate all digital profiles?

    Thanks,
    Jordan

    Like

    1. Hi Jordan,

      Thanks for your comments they were so encouraging and I really do appreciate your constructive criticism.

      Although, I haven’t read well into the issue I don’t think there’s much that content producers can do to detect authenticity without invading privacy which poses a whole realm of ethical issues within itself. However, I do think as consumers we can do well to be informed on the aversive consequences that can occur with interacting with online profiles that you do not know such as catfishing and trolling.

      So to answer your second question it may be possible to completely authenticate digital profiles by linking them to National ID such as passports and driving licences but as the proposed methods come at the expense of privacy again this raises further issues and needs to be thoroughly thought out which is why I originally said that I don’t think that there is much that content producers can do.

      Additionally, I don’t think anonymity is a bad thing but when used inappropriately it can do real harm so maybe in moving forward the Code of Conduct for our favourite social media platforms need to be made more explicit and fines should be attached to abusing them as to deter people from being harmful and deceptive when not being their authentic selves online.

      I know this was a bit all over the place but I hope it at least loosely answered your question

      Raziya 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Raziya, thats a really interesting idea of linking it to a national ID and one I have never contemplated before!
        As well, after all if the code of conduct is going to be overlooked anyway does it matter what profile one is using? It may just be the case one is more likely to overlook the code of conduct when using their ‘other’ not main accounts.

        Like

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