Online Identities

“Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Just because I keep my personal and professional identities separate, does this mean I have a lack of integrity?

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Elements of an Online Identity

Online identities derive from the practices of individuals on the internet. The internet is integral in our digital society and our online activities have an impact on our social interactions both face to face and on the web. In a world where you can access your social media feeds on the go, and children as young as 10 have accounts on Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook, managing your digital identity has never been so important. The question is, should you have one or more digital identities?


Having one online identity provides exposure and new forms of community engagement that create a stronger presence. A single identity is also integral for customer profiling and targeting; marketing activities rely on you being honest about who you are and your interest to be a success.

It is suggested that to build a successful online identity it is important to keep it professional even when it’s personal, but for some, personal and professional identities are kept separate. Zuckerberg strongly discourages this notion, but from a biased perspective, as Facebook wouldn’t work without a single online identity.

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Anonymity on the Internet is Disappearing


The old web is disappearing and we are moving toward a time where it is almost impossible to be truly anonymous online. Although anonymity on the internet works in theory, the Aaron Brown experiment highlights how you cannot engage in the internet as it is today without revealing who you are.

Whilst a single identity makes it easier to manage your privacy, having an online identity at all comes with a security risk. With 75% of children aged 10-12 having social media accounts, and parents not thinking twice about their child’s digital presence when they document their lives from birth on Facebook, managing our online identities has never been more important in protecting ourselves from digital predators and identity theft.

I adopt multiple online identities to keep my personal and professional activities separate, like I do in everyday life. I am not the same person at work as I am at a meal with my family or at home with my boyfriend; but by not revealing these parts of my identity at all times, it doesn’t mean I lack integrity or am dishonest.

Word Count: 406 words


Krotoski, A (2012) Online Identity: Is authenticity or anonymity more important? via The Guardian. [Accessed 23rd February 2016]

Vronay, D (2014) The Online Identity Crisis. [Accessed 24th February 2016]

Jamieson, S (2016) Children Ignore Age Limits by Opening Social Media Accounts. [Accessed 26th February]

Wallen, C (2014) How to Invent a Person Online. [Accessed 24th February]

Costa, C & Torres, R (2011) ‘To Be or not To Be’: The Importance of Digital Identity in the Networked Society accessed online via [ Accessed 23rd February]

Zimmer, M (2010) Facebook’s Zuckerberg “Having Two Identities is an Example of a Lack of Integrity” [Accessed 24th February 2016]


[Featured Image] Thumbprint via Pinterest

Elements of an Online Identity via Internet Society

“On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog” via Internet Society




9 thoughts on “Online Identities

  1. Hi Ellis, I really enjoyed reading this blog! The way you used a quote in the title drew me in, and the images were effective in reinforcing the ideas you put forward. I like the way you showed the main advantages of using both single and multiple online identities, as in my own I decided to focus more extensively on multiple identities, so it was quite interesting seeing your different approach to the topic. I think that you can either choose to focus on one aspect in more detail or do both and give a broader overview. Both approaches are informative so it is all down to personal style and what you want to tell the reader. The research you found which highlighted that 75% of children aged 10-12 have social media accounts was interesting, perhaps it would be useful to use a link in the text to send us directly to that article like you did with other research, just to make it easier for the reader to look these things up?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jodie, thank you for your comment. I wanted to go into more detail about children and their social media identities but didn’t have enough words! Next time I will definitely put direct links to areas I briefly touch upon so readers can explore these areas more in depth; thank you for the advice!


      • Hi Ellis, I know what you mean, there was so much material which would have been really useful to include it’s so frustrating (but understandable) that it’s not possible to include it all! I suppose it’s effective in making us realise our favourite pieces of information to include though. I’m glad you thought my suggestion was useful and look forward to reading your future blogs!

        Liked by 1 person

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