(ALC201): When You Have More Than One Identity Online

Online identity is defined as a social identity created by a user in websites and associations whether anonymous or personal. Ever since the rapid evolution of technology the past decade, everything that cannot be done offline, such as talking to someone who is in another country, has now been adapted into the online world. With this new and advanced technology, many have created personas of themselves online. Their online selves can either be an exact replica of their real self or someone completely different. Many tend to be the latter as they want to experience being someone other than themselves for once and what better way to execute that plan by doing it online where no one has the need to know their true identity.

In terms of Calypoole and Theresa Payton (2012, p. 3) they mention that ever since now that everyone is able to amuse or publish online, the Internet persona is a fact of life and is a permanent, written record of our lives for all to see. In the image below, you can see how the Internet persona is a permanent, written record of our lives for all to see. My Facebook profile can easily be searched and viewed by everyone, but not every content I post can be visible due to my security settings when being viewed by the public outside of my friend’s list.

I am an international student and from where I come from, social media is the number one form of communication, especially twitter. When I came to Melbourne, when I asked around if many had twitter, most of them replied with a ‘no’ and most of them responded with a ‘Facebook is enough for me to handle, I can’t juggle more than one.’ Facebook was as good as dead to me and not many used it anymore as everyone was on-board the twitter wagon. However, upon arriving here and seeing how many people used Facebook, it brought me back to it again. Below is how the public views my profile.

I also have two twitter accounts and I think this is one of those examples of online personas. My main twitter account has everything; from rants, stories, tweets about tv shows (which usually includes me raging about them), but most of the time it is filled with conversation from my friends overseas. My other twitter account that I recently created was specifically for University use. Whether it can be asking questions, tweeting entertaining tweets and following other classmates doing the same unit as I and also relevant people that can help you in your future work life.

The first tweet above is from my twitter account specifically for University use; it is where I pose questions to lecturers or use it to talk about the different units I am taking. I made it to have a more formal approach on things rather than sticking to my personal twitter, the two bottom images, where it is very informal and is where I speak my mind and express my feelings about everything. Wood and Smith (2005, p. 57) explains that with these technologies, the Internet has now given us the opportunity of controlling more aspects of our identity for public consideration. With my dual accounts, I can choose and control my posts and security settings as much as possible.

My use of profile pictures vary with the different sites I use. For Facebook, my picture is just me and a cover photo of my family so I can see them everyday no matter how far they are from where I am. My personal twitter and Instagram (image above) shows a picture of me and my boyfriend and the other twitter account is again a picture of myself. The reason why I have it on a variety is because I still want to show my own self and at the same time I want to show the rest with my significant other as well.

I made an infographic which contains the most popular sites I am on most of the time and whether I use my laptop or phone more when surfing the net. I tend to use my laptop more as it is pretty convenient and I can watch my shows whilst attempting my assignment at the same time and multi-tasking is not exactly effective on a smart phone. Phones are used most of the time as well especially when on the couch, walking, lying in bed, trying to avoid an awkward situation and much more.

(Inforgraphic made from easel.ly)

I portray myself as how I usually am offline; loud, talks a lot and especially expressive, online, especially on twitter. However, on Facebook, I tend to be careful with what I post as my family members, relatives and parents friends’ are part of my friends’ list as well. Having the need to be careful with the materials I share and words I use, unlike on twitter where I am pretty open about expressing my thoughts. When communicating with people I do not shorten my words like others as I prefer reading everything fully and as how it is.

I believe that my online reputation and how I am currently using it is rather positive and does not have any massive problem to it. As Creeber and Martin (2009, p. 31) mentions, the Internet is an imaginary space filled with ideas and experiences, fear and excitement, dullness and wonder. This explains that the internet is indeed a wide space that can be used for many things and anyone can use it positively, sometimes even to right the negatives, and each person’s experience and how they use it varies.

For a number of online identities to have been discovered, created and morphed into, media has sure indeed changed over the years from old to new. Merrin (2014, p.26) states that the merger from old to new media has transformed media in a way that gives us new possibilities of its use and experience. Having online identities also gives us a way to find ourselves and also teach us a thing or two about how we view things from others’ perspectives.

(1021 words)

REFERENCES:

  • Claypoole, T, & Payton, T 2012, Protecting Your Internet Identity : Are You Naked Online?, n.p.: Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012., DEAKIN UNIV LIBRARY's Catalog, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 August 2015.
  • Wood, A, & Smith, M 2005, Online Communication : Linking Technology, Identity, And Culture, n.p.: Mahwah, N.J. : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005., DEAKIN UNIV LIBRARY's Catalog, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 August 2015.
  • Creeber, G, & Martin, R 2009, Digital Cultures, n.p.: Maidenhead, Berkshire : Open University Press, 2009., DEAKIN UNIV LIBRARY's Catalog, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 August 2015.
  • Merrin, W 2014, Media Studies 2.0, n.p.: DEAKIN UNIV LIBRARY's Catalog, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 August 2015.