Multiple online identities – a reflection

After reading Ji’s post I was pleased to see that he had also acknowledged that ‘we adopt different personas in the real world’ so why can’t we online?

In a comment, I challenged his suggestion that it’s now harder to achieve anonymity online, as there are still outlets to do so such as 4Chan. Ji clarified this, stating that he felt it’s now harder to achieve total anonymity. We then went on to discuss how the portrayal of online identities may change in the future as a result of privacy concerns and why someone would want to remain anonymous.

I also commented on Mark’s work, who shared the view that the portrayal of our online identity should be a choice. We discussed why authenticity is desired by Facebook with Mark suggesting commercial reasons were a factor. We also discussed whether this approach could be replicated by other services and how this could impact our choice.

With regards to comments on my own work, Louise interestingly noted how I see an alignment between the online and offline spheres whilst others treat them as inherently different. I explained how I feel we often subliminally portray similar identities but shouldn’t necessarily be looking to strictly mirror offline identity.

A discussion with Wil contributed to the debate around social media services pursuing authenticity as Wil questioned whether more needed to be done to educate services on the benefits of online anonymity. Fundamentally, I feel that even if more does need to be done, there will be little change, again owing to commercial interests.

As a result of these discussions, the difference in opinion with regards to how we present ourselves has been made clear. As a result I firmly believe that the choice of portraying multiple online identities should be just that… a choice.


Word count: 300


Krotoski, A., Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?. [Online]
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