Topic 2 : Online Identity, One or Many?

 “Remember to like the company’s Facebook page!”

Have this ever occurred to you after an interview or when your boss asked for your social media accounts and you frantically delete all your tag photos with you partying around and having a wild night or create a separate social media account just for business purposes to hide your unethical behaviors from your potential bosses or client?

Such instances will make you question yourself, do i need more than one online identity? What’s the pros and cons of having more than online identity?

So, what is online identity?  It is the sum of information and characteristics that makes who you are and what you do as on the web. Your online identity is not the same as your real-world identity because the characteristics you represent online differ from the physical world.

In recent years, many people are creating different online identities to separate their profile for business and private use. Some even create fake profiles to remain anonymous to protect their own identity. For example, just on 2015 Facebook announced there were around 170 MILLION fake users and profile. (Parson ,2015)

So why do people create multiple online identities? Because in recent years , employers starts to review employees online presence as a standard operating procedure. (Tarpey, 2015) The image below shows why employers view their employee social media:


By having different online identities, it helps people to distinguish themselves from business and personal life. Having multiple identities also helps to provide anonymity to prevent identity theft and job losses. You will never know what you share or posted in your teenage years or your party nights might cause you to lose your job!

However having multiple online identities, may result in lack of authenticity. The reason why employers want to review their employees online identity is to know their real name, connections and activities across the cyberspace. As quoted from Mark Zuckerberg (Zimmer,2010) the creator of Facebook:

“Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity”- Mark Zuckerberg

Having a single online identity, allow people to be true to themselves, with no insecurity to hide themselves from people. Multiple online identities may cause people to be worry and doubtful of who you are online and offline.

In conclusion, there’s no absolute reasons to be for or against having one or more than one online identity. However, I believe it is good to have more than one online identity as it allows people to balance through the essence of life between work and life. To do that people just have to remember the golden rule of sharing.



[435 words]













Parsons, J. (2015) Facebook’s war continues against fake profiles and Bots. Available at: (

Tarpey, M. (2015) More employers checking out candidates on social media –. Available at:

Zimmer, M. and Nicora, C. (2010) Facebook’s Zuckerberg: ‘Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity’. Available at:

McGraw.M (2016) How to be authentic online #DomainME. Available at:


6 thoughts on “Topic 2 : Online Identity, One or Many?

  1. Very visual post Yong You! I too have separate social media accounts for professional and personal purposes. However, this brings us to the question: What rights do bosses/potential employers have to be ‘researching’ us online? Is a picture of me doing something silly from 5 years ago a valid reason not to hire me? And what rights do companies like Facebook and Google have to sell our personal information to marketing companies? Yes we ticked the ‘I agree’ in the terms and conditions section, but do we have a choice? Can we still register a profile with these online giants without agreeing to let them sell our digital footprints away? You quoted Mark Zuckerberg saying having two identities is an example of “lack of integrity”. I describe these actions by employers and social media companies as examples of “lack of ethics”. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jeremiah! Thank you for reading my post. Yes, i do agree with your views on the invasion of privacy from employers and social media companies. However, I believe the reason why employers research for employees online is to filter away potential candidates that will do something that will affect their brand image negatively or against their brand value as online etiquette have became a norm to be working in a technology advanced era.

      For example: In 2012, an NTUC assistant director was sacked for her racist remark on social media ( Source:
      It may be something that she shared on her personal Facebook but that had escalated to the company after various netizen found out where she worked at. Therefore at the employers’ point of view, this is detrimental for the company image and PR so it became a need for employers to review employee online activities.

      I personally feel that as long as you are careful of what you share, if it is going to have a negative impact on you then don’t do it. Follow the rule of only share things online you are willing to share in person then it doesn’t matter if employers research for me online. As for companies selling our information, I guess we just have to raise our online security measures and ignore spam mails. Anyway thanks for asking, I hope that answers some of your questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Yongyou,

    Interesting read on how too much of sharing could ultimately harm us. I liked how you mentioned that these multiple identities serve as protection, but also, in contrast, might give others the impression that we are different online and off.

    I also think that employers should give employees due respect in not digging up dated posts or pictures that employees have made an effort to hide (e.g privacy settings). I would have liked to see your views on people who appear anonymous as a one-off or for legitimate reasons apart from preventing identity theft and job losses.

    In Aleks Krotoski’s article, she mentioned that Facebook attempts to regulate the number of identities we have by authentication through its site, which is connected to our real being. What are your views on that? And how did the 170million people manage to create a fake Facebook account? Mark Zuckerberg would be disappointed!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Renee! Thanks for reading. In terms of people appearing anonymous, I have friends who suffered from cyber-stalking and cyber bullying so they got traumatized and decided to go anonymous to keep themselves safe from stalkers and bullies. So I believe if being anonymous could make you feel more comfortable then why not? Also, there are times when people just wanted to be anonymous because they are lazy to sign up for something such as forum,shopping website, Facebook review as they intend it as a one-off thing with no commitment and that doesn’t mean they are afraid of identity theft or job losses.

      As for my views on Facebook attempts to regulate the number of identities, I believe they are just doing their job to connect people closer. In my own opinion as an user of FB, I would like to know who is sending me friend request. If someone with no profile picture and information send me a request, mostly likely i would decline or ignored it because how would I know who is trying to become friends with me. However, I believe sharing of information is up to individual comfort level, if you are uncomfortable with it then don’t do it. Maybe they can try moving to other social media platforms with less commitment on sharing of information.

      Anyway thanks for asking, i hope that answer some of your questions.

      Liked by 1 person

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