Single Identity vs Multiple Identites


Social media can be risky. As Justine Sacco found out, a single unfortunate tweet can throw your career off track (Ronson, 2015). However, with 40% to 60% of employers using social media to screen potential employees, it’s not reasonable to stay off it either (CareerBuilder, 2014).

Furthermore, when social networking websites launched, its content and experience were tailored to a group of audience: towards teenagers on MySpace, university students on Facebook and hi-tech professionals on LinkedIn (Agichtein et al., 2008). As individuals transitioned between life stages their tastes and preferences changed, as well as their social connections. To cater for these changes and to reach a niche audience, individuals fragment their interests into separate social media accounts or multiple identities (Casserly, 2011).

Benefits and Drawbacks:


(Future Learn, 2018)



(Future Learn, 2018)


There is also the option to remain anonymous online. Anonymity has various benefits such as, increased freedom of self-expression and high level of privacy and gives the oppressed and threatened a platform to voice their opinions without compromising their identity and safety. Anonymity also comes with numerous drawbacks like the risk of appearing inauthentic or lacking integrity, seeming untrustworthy and the risk of enabling catfishing, trolling, flaming, cyberbullying and abuse (Future Learn, 2018).


While I have not felt the need to remain anonymous, I have definitely benefitted from multiple online identities.  High level of privacy means I have been able to keep my personal information safe while avoiding the possibilities of getting hacked and I have been able to control what I share with different groups of people ranging from friends to work colleagues.


Single identity provides the opportunity for good personal branding while blurring the line between your private and professional life. Whereas, multiple identities provides more security and allows us to differentiate between our private and professional life.


Word count: 295



Agichtein, E., Castillo, C., Donato, D., Gionis, A. and Mishne, G. (2008) Finding High-Quality Content in Social Media. Available from: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

CareerBuilder (2014) Number of Employers Passing on Applicants Due to Social Media Posts Continues to Rise, According to New CareerBuilder Survey – CareerBuilder. Available from: [Accessed 23 April 2018].

Casserly, M. (2011) Forbes Welcome. Available from: [Accessed 20 April 2018].

Future Learn (2018) FutureLearn: What is your network identity? – Learning in the Network Age – University of Southampton. Available from: [Accessed 19 April 2018].

Ronson, J. (2015) How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. Available from: [Accessed 19 April 2018].




  1. Hi Bivash,

    It was intriguing to read your self-evaluation and I sure do agree with maintaining multiple online identities. They help you present your image differently in different contexts and benefits with greater privacy.

    However, when you maintain multiple online identities, it expresses your attempts at controlling what others think of you. It is an eager and persistent effort to come across as perfect. This is extremely emotionally demanding and can take a serious toll on people. Some attempts backfire as in the case of Justine Sacco. (

    What we need to realize is that you can try all you want to appear perfect in different contexts for different people. But they will always have their own opinions about you and that is okay.

    Following that line of thought, how do you feel about my take on managing online profiles in a healthy and emotionally balanced manner? My article enumerates on the ideal choice of an online identity (

    Also, what can we do to minimise negative practices like trolling, catfishing and cyberbullying?

    Some are talked about in detail in this Forbes article (

    Looking forward to hearing from you,



  2. Hi,

    I thought your reference to individuals changing life stages having an impact on their online identities was a really good point to make. I hadn’t considered how people can fragment their social lives across a variety of social networks as they age and transition. One potential way to build on this would be to consider how do people fragment or change their social media access and use in response to external transitions – such as more older people/family members on Facebook? (Sweney, 2018) Does this have an impact on peoples online identity?

    Additionally, how does your use of online services and resources differ between your online identities? You’ve mentioned that you have high levels of privacy but it would be interesting to understand more about how individuals use their profiles differently, particularly when they have multiple personal identities!

    Sweney, M. (2018). Is Facebook for old people? Over-55s flock in as the young leave. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2018].


  3. Hi Bivash,

    Thanks for this read it was really interesting. I was surprised to see the 40-60% of employers screen their applicant’s social media profiles to see what they are posting online, it shows how if you leave a negative online footprint in the past it has the potential to come back and unfortunately affect your chances at gaining employment.

    It was interesting also to see that you adopt multiple online identities, I think this is very common for students especially those that are seeking to gain employment post-graduation.

    After reading this article posted below, which discusses the differences in individuals behaviours online versus offline I am interested to get your opinion about whether one’s online identity reflects their offline identity?

    Thanks again,

    Dom Hinchliffe


  4. Hi Bivash,

    I enjoyed reading your blog, you raised some interesting points. I appreciate your understanding of the dynamic component of people’s online following. Touching on anonymity, you mentioned the benefits such as the freedom to freely express yourself and a safe platform for the oppressed and threatened to freely express their opinions.

    I believe in the freedom of speech and recognise the importance of anonymity for those would like to have a voice but for one reason or another are victimised for their difference.

    However, there is the ugly which can sometimes be overlooked. People have been known to exploit this tool such as Barton (2015)found with rival firms writing false reviews concerning his products and services. In your blog, you mentioned the danger of inauthenticity for those who appear anonymous online however, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the fake accounts from the real. Isaacson (2016) discusses this further, the question I raise is:
    Should it be mandatory for anonymous accounts to clearly display that they are anonymous so prevent further problems?

    Words: 173

    – Barton, E. (2015). The Danger of Online Anonymity. BBC. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Apr. 2018].
    – Isaacson, W. (2016). How to fix the internet. The Atlantic. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Apr. 2018].


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