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.


Reflection of Topic 1

After analysing and producing my first blog post I found some interesting comments left which started to make me think about the validity of my example of a 98-year-old lady. I have to say that after reading my fellow peers Allie’s and Zacwhu’s comments I do still believe that Clara Cannucciari is a strong and solid case to disagree with Presnky’s theory of her being a native. However, in hindsight I should have elaborated to ensure my point was made more clear that Clara should not be classified as a Native, but instead on the continuum leaning to being a Resident due to the online social presence left by Clara.

Clara’s online trace left under White and Cornu’s theory does define her as a resident, in my opinion it isn’t about who produced or directed the video but that Clara is engaging and communicating information on the web about her passion.  The comments left were interesting and have allowed me to understand the importance of clarity to ensure there is no confusion with the message left. Furthermore, to the point about over 65’s having 55% of that demographic on Facebook, I do agree this sounds excessively high however after researching online I have found that several sources to give a similar figure of 49%.

I decided to choose this graph due to physical aspect and clarity it gives backing my point that Prensky’s theory is outdated and that the older generation have their own motivation for going on the web. I have learnt that clarity is crucial when blogging and that structure to posting must be clear. Through the comments I have gained a deeper understanding of this topic by looking into y points further which taught me how to evaluate my own work.

Digital “Visitors” and Digital “Residents”

Marc Prensky’s theory of ‘digital natives, those who have grown up alongside the web, ’ and those that haven’t the ‘Digital Immigrants’ has been widely criticised due to categorisation of individuals by purely age (Prensky, 2001).

White and Cornu (2011) have proposed an alternate theory defining digital residents and visitors; what classifies one into each bracket is not their age but what motivates the individual for using the internet. A “digital visitor” is described as those who use the web to carry out tasks to achieve certain goals such as buying their groceries, and will not leave a social trace of themselves. Whereas a “Digital Resident” is described as one who spends a portion of their life on the web to interact and communicate with others (White, 2014). This can be done through the likes of social media and has led to the increasing blurred distinction between life online and off-line.

I agree with Prensky that the majority of the youth today are digital “natives” however I wouldn’t agree with the elderly being referred to as “immigrants”. For example, Clara Cannucciari aged 98, has gained several million views on her YouTube channel by giving cooking demonstrations (Clara, 2009). Under Prensky’s theory she should be classified as a digital immigrant however the persona left on the web illustrates Clara has gathered information to share with others, classifying her as a digital resident under David White’s theory.


The controversy over Prensky’s theory has led to him moving away from the digital native and immigrant theory himself, however he claims that much of the controversy came due to misinterpretation (Prensky, 2009). The bar chart below (figure 1) shows us that much of the population who were from the pre-digital culture have now learnt and adapted to becoming online users.

social-media-usage-in-uk-infographic-639x1868                                                                                                                            (Figure 1)

Our “Net generation” have been instilled to believe that the internet is a source of all information, therefore I find myself a digital resident. Having created a LinkedIn profile to network or Facebook to interact with family and friends including my 81 one-year-old grandfather. Even though we are both on Facebook, I don’t believe we should both be categorised in the same field as a resident. Therefore, when approaching whether one is a visitor or a resident, the classification should be seen as a continuum as supposed to two distinct labels.


Prensky (2001) Digital Natives, Digital ImmigrantsOn the Horizon, MCB University Press, Volume 9 (5). Available from:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf (Accessed on 15/10/16)

David S. White and Alison Le Cornu.. (2011). Visitors and Resident: A new typology for online engagement . Available: Last accessed 16 October 2016.

David White. (2014). Visitors & Residents. Available: Last accessed 16 October 2016.

Marc Prensky, 2009. “H. sapiens digital: From digital immigrants and digital natives to digital wisdom,” Innovate, volume 5, number 3.