In an increasingly technological world, social media sites such as Facebook are becoming increasingly important in maintaining a social life and in the workplace. However, this creates the dilemma to depict oneself through a single or multiple identities.
Despite a singly identity being associated with authenticity and integrity , we’ve seen that the norm for many is multiple profiles. Danah Boyd, who works for Microsoft as a social media researcher, interviewed a young person and received the response: “different sites, different audiences, different purposes”. This demonstrates the extent to which people may use LinkedIn to connect with their professional network, whilst using Facebook to connect with close friend and relatives.
Whilst managing multiple profiles may be an added difficulty, associated with remembering multiple passwords and security details, the implementation of multiple online identities may certainly have its perks. Multiple profiles may allow people to separate their professional and social persona’s, to avoid the unintended slip of personal life into their workplace. What’s more, a survey by Jobvite revealed that 92% of companies use social media during a recruitment process. Thus, a seemingly innocent post may have damaging effects on career prospects.
The case of Justine Sacco was well publicised !
[Screenshot taken by myself]
Below are infographics which details the pros and cons of having a single identity vs multiple identities :
Below is a video containing students and social media professionals discussing the complexity of managing multiple identities on social media :
Mark Zuckerberg was noted as saying that “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity” However, this may decision may ultimately be determined by your circumstances. One circumstance includes issues revolving gender, as reported by Cserni and Talmund (2015) , who found benefits of having multiple identities for members of the LGBT community. The necessity for a support network whilst forming their sexual orientation was cited as a supporting factor.
Whilst the likes of mark Zuckerberg disagree with multiple identities, I personally believe that it is acceptable for one to curate different profiles to suit their personal and professional lifestyles.
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Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. Yale University Press.
Cserni, R. T., & Talmud, I. (2015). To know that you are not alone: The effect of internet usage on LGBT youth’s social capital. In Communication and Information Technologies Annual (pp. 161-182). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Featured image : Getty Images, Ashley Britton