From the beginning of this topic my stance was neutral, and it still is. However, by reading all the UOSM2008 blogs, I gained more insight on both sides of the debate. Thus, I created a poster which illustrates all the points made in those posts.
In my previous post I mentioned that both single and multiple online identities are appropriate given the right circumstances. As Clayton stated, different platforms serve different purposes and it is up to each and every individual to choose which partial identity(ies) they wish to portray. These individuals must utilise their digital literacy skills in order to manage their online presentation (Costa and Torres, 2011). Anna-Clare’s comment made me think about how users can achieve this, and how private our online identity really is. For example, I found the Aaron Brown experiment, that Holly tweeted about, fascinating, which showed how a whole person could be “created” out of the blue. Ultimately, I believe that there is a contrast between anonymity and data security, and whilst anonymity serves many purposes, it is crucial to understand that digitised information is traceable. Nonetheless, given that users employ the appropriate privacy settings, the benefits of multiple online identities are evident, as I mentioned in my comment on Michele’s post.
An interesting point was made by Kemi-Grace, who mentioned the Online Disinhibition Effect and how this can make people more hostile online. However, as I wrote in my comment on Kemi-Grace’s post , this Effect can also make people more creative online, thus is it not necessarily a negative effect in my opinion.
Finally, I was pleased to see that another blogger, Sam, also mentioned the positive effects of anonymity on mental health. Having undertaken a module called “cyber psychology and e-health” whilst on exchange, I have done a lot of research on this matter, and I truly believe in the benefits of online therapies for mental health.
Overall, this topic has enabled me to think about both sides of having a single versus multiple online identities. It has also given me a reality check regarding online privacy and the potential perils surrounding this matter. Personally, I will endeavour to maintain a consistent online identity, leaning more towards the professional side in order to maximise my future employability prospects. However, I still appreciate the fact that some users will benefit from using more than one online identity.
Costa, C. and Torres, R., 2011. To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias-ISSN 1646-933X, pp.47-53.