Who am I?
My Facebook profile will tell you I am Kevin Irikefe, as would my Twitter, LinkedIn and even this very blog page but within each of these social media sites, I portray different aspects of myself, these are my personas. Your online identity is a collection of all these different personas you build on the internet. Each persona will more than likely contain consistent information about yourself, but there are characteristics of yourself that one site may contain and another may not.
With more and more social media sites becoming prevalent, we are finding ourselves constantly reinventing the person we are to cater to the different needs and benefits of the site. With the example above, LinkedIn is a professional site, connecting other likeminded professionals together. It would be inappropriate of me to share certain information from my Facebook page on LinkedIn as they both serve a different purpose in my life.
However, there are people who create different personas within the same social media site and their motives for this can be very questionable. Such as those who enjoy ‘catfishing’. Urban dictionary describes a ‘catfish’ as ‘someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances’.
As touched upon in my first blog, society is very much leaning towards digital ‘residency’ with Facebook as a major driving force. Facebook seeks so much information about yourself, there are things you might be shy to even tell your mother. Mark and co. would say this is to aggregate all your personal information in to a centralised hub in order to create authenticity. Which I suppose rids of ‘catfishes’ but also deems someone like myself as unauthentic.
David Vronay, the founder and CEO of Heard, says Facebook have a completely ulterior motive and they want to ‘monetize user interaction’. Hence ‘hyper-targeted’ ads. Facebook are not the only culprits, your online identity is not merely the partial identities you willingly disclose, but also the partial identities created by your interaction and use of other sites. This allows these websites to also tailor their content, information and, most importantly, their ads to you, specifically and because of this, a minority of people fear even having an identity online.
So, where is the line?
I believe being a multi-faceted brand online is representative of how people are in reality as we all are different ‘people’ in different situations. Your various online personas allow you demonstrate that in different online realms whilst maintaining your true identity.