To understand the arguments surrounding identity, one must understand the meaning and the process of its development. According to Techopedia (n.d.), a digital identity is comprised of key data attributes – username, date of birth, online search activity, etc. – and digital identifiers – email address, domain name, etc.- claimed in cyberspace to reflect an individual or organisation.

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The graphic above demonstrates “7 Steps To Building Your Digital Identity”. These factors can be adapted to a single or multiple personas to reflect an individual’s social character, professional position, or desire to be anonymous.

Cristina Costa and Ricardo Torres (2011, p.g.49) highlight that the development of a digital identity provides “exposure and new forms of community engagement”, such engagement can be on either a professional or social level. This open conversation platform positively enables users to develop knowledge and their network.

On the flipside, one of the biggest issues with a known digital identity is the potential for invasion of privacy. Internetsociety.org (n.d.) state that the risk of identity theft has “grown with the rapid changes in information sharing brought on by the internet”. Data protection has become a publically debated topic following data leaks of public figures and bodies. The clip below is captured from Snowden (2016), a film based on true events describing the illegal surveillance techniques that Edward Snowden revealed whilst working for NSA.

Recently I, along with many others in the UK, suffered a breach of my personal account whilst using a fast food delivery service. In my case several hundred pounds was removed via orders that I did not place.

Danish journalist Pernille Tranberg in her TedTalk, suggested methods to protect identities. She highlighted a site called fakenamegenerator which generated her a persona – much like the one I have created below – which she could use on sites where she did not want the information to affect her professional persona.

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She claimed that 7 out of 10 recruiters reject people because of their profiles. Yet suggested that, the problem with fake identities is that Big Data can figure out which fake accounts belong to whom by correlating preferences and activities.

Privacy online has become of an increased concern to me due to my personal experiences, and I have noted that this has changed how I present myself online. With this I have become more restrictive on what information I give out however, I consider that I still maintain a single online identity.


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12 thoughts on “Topic 2 – Is there a Benefit to having Multiple Digital Identities?

  1. Hi Mary,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog this week, it is filled with interesting information on the topic of online identities. It is very clear that you have done a lot of independent research and I particularly enjoyed the Snowdon video clip.
    I know that you struggled with Piktochart this week from the comment on my blog, however I think it is very clear what you have tried and succeeded in achieving, it looks sleek and professional, containing the relevant information.
    I am sorry to hear about the breach to your account, that is terrible and rather scary considering the number of people, especially students who use Deliveroo on a regular basis.
    Pernille Tranberg’s TEDTalk was also an eye opener, it really does make you think about the possible benefits of having an online identity and whether it is safe to be ‘authentic’ online.

    Charley

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  2. Hi Mary!

    Your post this week has been really informative. Exploring the ‘7 steps to building a digital identity’ in relation to multiple online identities was enlightening as I didn’t mention this on my post – it’s always interesting to see different approaches to the same question! I also appreciated the addition of your own experience with online fraud; the anecdote amplified the severity of this issue and highlighted a major disadvantage.

    The addition of Transberg was informative, but I believe having multiple online identities doesn’t necessarily mean that the accounts using an alias are ‘fake accounts’ as Tranberg states; Nicole Lee rightfully argues ‘the notion that we only have one authentic self is a fallacy’. Blogger Ashe Mischief also describes her pseudonym as having a ‘new outlet to share’ a different side to her. So perhaps to view having multiple online identities as being ‘yourself or fake’ is deterministic.

    You say that you currently only have one online identity, but considering Ashe Mischief’s reasoning for an alias, would you ever consider using one?

    Thanks for the thought provoking piece,

    Faazila

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    1. Hi Faazila,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I have considered using an alias in the past however, the persona became a chore to maintain and therefore deleted the account.

      Mary

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  3. HI Mary!
    I really enjoyed reading your post and found it very interesting! I love how you discussed the fake name generator, I wasn’t even aware you could find such a thing!
    You discussed how the pros and cons of fake identity, but I’d love to know where you stand. When it comes to fake identities companies like Facebook are forbidding titles and nicknames that aren’t your ‘real’ name. According to Xpress, having people use their real names makes the, more accountable and stops malicious behaviour. However it can be argued that people lose their freedom to change who they are, or reinvent themselves. I’d love to see where you stand from reading your post!
    Very well written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
    Emily

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    1. Hi Emily,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I feel that fake identities cause more confusion than benefit in the majority of cases.

      Mary

      Like

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