Reflection: Topic 2

400 words to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of having multiple online identities proved to be too few. I took a relatively broad approach to this topic, attempting to identify many points for both sides of the argument. I thought this approach would allow me to cover all the key points and issues surrounding online identity, but I was completely wrong.

After reading many of my peers’ blogs, I found I had only scratched the surface with this topic and how much I had left untouched.

An example of this is the lack of light I shed on anonymous online identities. Davina, however, dedicated much of her blog to this aspect of online identity. She felt adopting an anonymous online identity really had no use and pointed out that ‘there are very few situations where it is useful or even desirable to be anonymous outside of explicitly anti-social or criminal behaviour’. Even though I agreed with a lot of what she highlighted, I did, however, play devil’s advocate in her comments by outlining times where it can be useful to be anonymous, such as the Anonymous activist/hacktivist group.

Not only did I not address all issues surrounding this topic, I also could have backed up some of my points with more hard evidence. This was brought to my attention by the comments I received on the post. Both Arun and Gus felt some of issues I addressed could have been boosted with a specific reference or more visual representation in order for the reader to fully grasp and comprehend the point I was trying to make.

Overall, I felt I demonstrated a good understanding of the topic, but could have gone into greater detail with the points addressed.

Comments on other blogs:

Davina’s blog

Nikhil’s blog

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Me, Myself and The Internet

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.

 

Sources used:

http://www.internetsociety.org

David Vronay, Heard – The Online Identity Crisis

Alex Krotoski – Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important? 

7 Steps to building your online identity