A quick Google of my name shows the usual links to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc, all of which I’ve knowingly placed information into in order to build a profile. But there is also information that I’ve never placed on the internet; you can see that I passed my Grade 1 Ballet exam when I was in Year 2, not exactly scandalous and it won’t stop me from getting a job but it just shows that we have little control of what is written about us online. Regardless of whether we want to have an online identity, by the time we’re at University, the chances are we inadvertently already have one. A further Google search of “For and Against having an Online Identity” produces results almost exclusively claiming having an online identity can lead to you falling victim to Identity theft; our habit of over sharing personal information on Social Media can leave us exposed to identity and bank fraud (Smith, 2014). We could argue that having more than one online identity could actually protect us.
This graphic is based on the ideas found on internetsociety.org. It shows how our individual identities on the web are combined to create what is known about our Identity on the Internet. I think that this show how hard it is to have a credible identity when we attempt to have more than one; the circles wouldn’t overlap in the same way. As Aleks Krotoski points out in his article, “the main value now lies within creating a platform that provides confidence that a person is who they say they are” (Krotoski, 2012).
Something that wasn’t raised by my readings was what the motivation was for having more than one identity? I use my online identity to communicate with friends, follow beauty blogs and aimlessly browse Amazon, I find it hard to comprehend why you would have the need to do this outside of your actual identity. In Japan there are sites such as 4Chan where you are totally anonymous to other users (Krotoski, 2012). However, with cookies, IP addresses etc, can you ever truly be anonymous online?
Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently announced that in the not so distant future “every young person.. will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends social media sites” (Jenkins, 2010). This presents the idea of ‘Reputation Bankruptcy’ (Zittrain, 2010). If you gain Reputation Bankruptcy, the good as well as the bad would be removed; what does it mean for society if we can effectively remove our past from the Internet?
http://www.internetsociety.org/online-identity-overview#overlay-context= Accessed: 19/02/2015
Jenkins Jr, Holman W, 14/08/2010. “Google and the search to the future”, The Wall Street Journal. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704901104575423294099527212 Accessed: 19/02/2015
Krotoski, Aleks, 19/04/2012. “Online Identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?, The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity Accessed: 19/02/2015
Smith, Anthony, 24/10/2014. “Five ways to protect yourself against online identity theft”. The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/anthony-smith/5-ways-to-protect-yoursel_1_b_6040872.html Accessed:19/02/2015
Zittrain, Jonathon, 07/09/2010. “Reputation Bankruptcy”, The future of the Internet and how to stop it. http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/futureoftheinternet/2010/09/07/reputation-bankruptcy/ Accessed: 19/02/2015