Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of having multiple online identities appeared to be simple at first glance but there were several new things that I learnt from my own research and seeing other people’s work.
Despite being someone that uses the internet daily, I was unaware that every website gathers information and uses it to form an online identity of you. Although it was something I was aware of with sites that I had to register to use, I thought it ended there. To find out that even search engines save our data was an almost shocking thought.
Aside from this, Madeleine’s blog post made me reconsider some of my rationales for having multiple online accounts. In my blog, I looked at the separation of the private and public online self from the perspective of an online user trying to split up their professional and private life. However, from reading this post, I was provoked to consider the other harmless reasons why people have private accounts, such as for celebrity fan accounts – often found on Twitter.
Alternatively, Callum’s post raised a key question of why we should be different online when we portray more than one identity offline. During my research, I continually came across articles that drew comparisons between life offline and online, which also moulded my opinion of them as two separate spheres, preserved by the creation of multiple online identities. But the question posed, and the subsequent discussion, triggered my thoughts of whether or not, especially for younger people, this divide will exist.
In some ways, online accounts may contribute to our ‘real life’ identities by giving us the freedom to express ourselves differently. This is a prospect that may not be measureable until we continue to watch the future ‘online generations’ progress.
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Featured image: Self-produced