Online identity is a persona that one establishes in the digital world. Any person who has initiated an activity online has essentially created an online identity. It is up to you on how you decide to present yourself in the online world and how that could reflect on your reputation.

Creating digital footprints now a days is in my opinion inevitable, the aspects  of how people connect, interact, share information, shop, socialise, learn and work (Solomon & Schrum, 2007) is done in the online and offline world. A study presented by the telegraph showed that children started using the internet at the age of three, confirming that we are all part of it.

Digital footprints themselves derive from the idea that every online activity you participate in can be recorded and traced, just like creating footprints in the sand.

foot-fetish.gif(Self-produced GIF via Photoshop)

The quote by Aleks Krotoski :

“The old web, a place where identity could remain separate from real life, is rapidly disappearing from the computer screen”

got me thinking , and in my opinion he is right!

The internet was primarily used as a means to access and consume information that was made available and has now evolved to a platform of interaction and networking.

Be aware that your online identity is not just a simple representation of a name but that it can highlight who you are and what you are interested in. Some people might not feel comfortable with this idea, so how can you protect yourself?

You can create a different account with a different name to stay anonymous. This is referred to as having multiple online identities, but even this can create problems.

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(Self-produced via Microsoft PowerPoint)

In a nutshell, it depends on what you want to use the internet for and whether you believe having two or more identities could be beneficial.

Mark Zuckerberg,  the inventor of Facebook, for example said that having multiple identities shows a lack of integrity as you should be the same person online and offline. Andrew Lewman on the other hand, the executive director of Tor project believes that giving someone anonymity “gives people control, it lets them be creative, it lets them figure out their identity and explore what they want to do, or to research topics that aren’t necessarily ‘them’ and may not want tied to their real name for perpetuity.

There is no right or wrong answer, just like everything in life every decision you make has its advantages and disadvantages, opinions will vary.

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References:

http://eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/view/216/126

http://www.internetsociety.org/manage-your-identity

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/10029180/Children-using-internet-from-age-of-three-study-finds.html

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity

 

 

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