According to Internet Society “Your identity is the sum of your characteristics, including your birthplace and birthday, the schools you attended, your shoe size… [etc.]”. These things make up who you are and what you do.
Online identity differs from real world identity due to the way people present themselves and the way they interact on the internet compared to real life. The video below explains in more detail.
Partial identities are all these different representations that make up your identity. These partial identities are made when you provide personal information online such as signing up for email, ordering things online and using sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Essentially you are leaving a string of partial identities every time you use the internet.
What springs to mind when you think of an online identity? Personally, before even reading around the subject the one thing in my mind was MTV’s ‘Catfish’. The term catfish is defined by Urban Dictionary 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.” The show encourages people to apply if they are unsure about the true identity of the people they are speaking to online.
According to Aleks Krotoski an expert in online comcommunity “Facebook… believes authenticity is linked to a person’s photo stream” However the show Catfish shows just how easy it is to steal people’s photos to make multiple accounts on various social media and pass it off as their own. I for one have now restricted people from viewing my pages and increased my privacy settings especially on Facebook to ensure none of my personal information can be taken.
However this is obviously the very worst case scenario of multiple identities online and not everyone’s intention is to ‘catfish’ in order to make friends etc. A positive of having multiple identities online allows users to be social on sites where only their friends can see, but then equally have accounts purely for professional purposes such as LinkedIn. Do you represent yourself the same on LinkedIn as you do on Facebook? I can imagine the answer is probably no, unless you decided to wipe your Fresher’s week pictures from Facebook. Personally I keep all my social media very restricted because I am conscious that potential employers will search for my accounts online and have access to my social life. This is a scary idea as even in the real world there is a strict divide between work and social life and I think it is important to keep this divide online too.
Backer. S. (2010). Catfish. Available: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=catfish. Last accessed 25th Oct 2016.
Costa. C, Torres. R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias
Jetsetshow. (2010). 7 Steps To Building Your Online Identity. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UlcOX1fZW4&feature=youtu.be. Last accessed 25th Oct 2016.
Joseph. M. (2012). CATFISH: THE TV SHOW TRAILER . Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMA4x7aXJT0. Last accessed 25th Oct 2016.
Krotoski, A. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important? . Available: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity. Last accessed 25th Oct 2016. Lee, N. (2016). Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think. Available: https://www.engadget.com/2016/03/04/multiple-online-identities/. Last accessed 25th Oct 2016.
rdigitalife. (2012). Identity: Are you the Same Person Online & Offline? . Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10K137WU9gw. Last accessed 25th Oct 2016.