Should we have more than one Online Identity?


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There is a clear disparity between our online and real-world identities where we represent different characteristics on the internet compared to the physical world (Internet Society, 2016). Our online identity reflects our characteristics and any form of interaction on the internet. This ranges from allowing individuals to keep their professional lives separate from their work lives, to people manipulating their true persona to become an identify thief.

Even one who may be classified as a digital visitor will have ‘multiple online identities’ through third party websites collecting identifiers.

According to Costa and Torres, (2011) the matter of digital identity is based around ‘two macro areas: presentation and reputation.’ I would have to agree that these two fields are central to the advantages and disadvantages around having multiple online identities.


Reference :

Advantages and Disadvantages 

Click Below

(Manton, 2015)

Having more than one online identity and several social media accounts has given us the opportunity to manage and express different aspects of our personas. (Lee, 16) A single unfortunate post on social media such as on Facebook could jeopardize a career, especially with 40 to 60 percent of hiring managers using social media to screen potential hires (Ollier-Malaterre, Rothbard, 2015). This statistic is significantly high and therefore would urge people to form a separate online social identity as around 40% of employees would find obliged to accept a professional contact ‘friend request’ (Ollier-Malaterre, Rothbard, 2015). Even though there are safeguard options to prevent what groups of people can see, this is simply creating two separate identities for two categories of people, in order to present them self in a reputable manor.

On the other hand, the idea of having several online identities reminds me of the MTV programme Catfish. This is the ability for people to manipulate their information to be perceived as someone they are not. This itself has several issues such as being perceived as untrustworthy to the extremity of stalking and predatory behaviour.

(Max Joseph, 2012)


Marc Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, believes that identity is authenticity; ‘that you are online who you are offline’ (Krotoski, 2012). I believe that having more than one online identity is not acceptable, but one can have multiple online persona’s in order to present themselves in different situations to maintain their reputation as a professional through LinkedIn or as the bubbly joker through Facebook.

Take control of your own Online Identity:

(Diaz, 2010)



Leverage (2015), Social Infographic,, Last accessed 30th/10/16.

Aleks Krotoski. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?. Available: Last accessed 30th/10/16.

Cristina Costa, Ricardo Torres. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Available: Last accessed 30/10/16.

Nicole Lee. (2016). Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think. Available: Last accessed 30th/10/16.

Tamara Manton. (2015). Pros and Cons – Multiple Identities. Available: Last accessed 30/10/16.

Ariane Ollier-MalaterreNancy Rothbard. (2015). How to Separate the Personal and Professional on Social Media. Available: Last accessed 30th/10/16.

Toral Cowiest and company. (2016). Privacy & Identity. Available: Last accessed 30th/10/16.

Max Joseph. (2012). CATFISH: THE TV SHOW TRAILER. Available: Last accessed 30/10/2016.

Zadi Diaz. (2010). 7 Steps To Building Your Online Identity. Available: Last accessed 30th/10/16.


7 thoughts on “Should we have more than one Online Identity?

  1. Hi Nikhil,

    Very good read, I liked the incorporation of the graphics to identify the different ways people might develop an online identity. I feel you described all the key terms that make up the definition of ones online identity well which allowed you to differentiate between having multiple identities and multiple personas online in your conclusion.

    Thus, with everything outlined so succinctly, I wanted to refer back to your graphic displaying the different ways and personas one can build online and ask about the ‘anonymous’ persona. This wasn’t one you touched upon in the blog and I wondered what your thoughts were on it, and what disadvantages and advantages there are surrounding an anonymous online identity.



    1. Hi kevin,

      Thank you for the kind words.I appreciate the feedback.
      About online anonymity, I would have to say I am in the middle. I saw you mentioned about the Anonymous group, would you not say they are acting as vigilantes? They are doing what they think is right?
      I am not sure where I stand to be honest, there are positives as well; healthy online debates, ability to gain online advice e.g. sexual advice or on drugs. People may look to online anonymity as a way to seek help, which is certainly a positive.



  2. This blog post is very clear and well laid out, it also uses modern references such as catfish and Facebook effectively.

    I was unaware before this post of how many jobs were affected by social media. It’s frightening to think that posts made today can affect our future opportunities. Regarding your conclusion that you believe it’s “unacceptable to have another identity”. I do think in a lot of cases alternative identities are used maliciously, but there are instances where they may be required. One example could be if someone was homosexual and didn’t want their loved ones to know. They may still want to get involved in LGBT discussions online but are only able to do so through different identities. In situations like this I feel it is acceptable.

    Overall this was a well thought out post and was very informative. I hope to hear your response to my comments and look forward to your next posts.


    1. Hey Tom,

      Thank you for the feedback, and yes I was also quite surprised by the statistic, but then I guess employers want to see who they truly are employing.

      I do see where you are coming from on this point about LGBT, but this is why I say that it would be fine to have a different online persona’s allowing the individual to chose what they display on different sights, as long as it is them and that it is ‘authentic’.

      I will certainly read your blog. Thank you again.



  3. Hi Nikhil,

    Your blog post was structured very well and easy to follow and understand. The use of images and YouTube videos posed were very informative and added o he points you were making. Using catfish a very relevant and current example clearly showed me the negatives of having a false online identity and he damage that it can do.

    Additionally, I had no idea the figures of employers using social media to screen potential employees was so high and almost showed the necessity for us to have multiple online identities.

    Leading on from the point you made, I would disagree with you and say having multiple online identifies wouldn’t’ be a negative thing o do depending on the use. One might create a fake persona online when seeing up a blog post to increase creativity. A number of journalists have been known to do his o avoid backlash when speaking on certain topics. Wouldn’t’ you agree?



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