Skip to main content

Waidner-Spahr Library

Social Media: Online Persona

Your Online Identity

The development of Internet communication and social media has expanded the traditional notion of identity. Now, people have online identities in addition to real life identities. It can be hard to manage the relationship between online and real life identities because a) materials that are posted online may exist forever; b) they can shape people's interpersonal perception towards you in the real world; and c) employers tend to use online platforms to verify and validate the identity of individuals. Hence, it is important to be aware of effective ways to manage your online identities.

Online Persona

Managing online identities is important because:

•  It provides platforms for people to express their feelings and show different sides of their personalities.

•  It helps people to understand you more holistically.

•  It helps to shape people’s interpersonal perception.

•  People often associate your virtual identities with real life identities.

•  Employers will use online platforms to verify and validate the identity of individuals.

•  More importantly, the materials posted online may exist forever and may always be searchable.

 

With the existence of many different kinds of social media outlets, the online identities that you create should:

•  be detached, but at the same time reflective of your true identity;

•  use different social media platforms to provide emphasis on different aspects of your identity;

•  depend on your desired outcome in different circumstances.

For example:

https://www.facebook.com Facebook is for a personal image and it is often shared among friends and families.

https://www.linkedin.com LinkedIn is for a professional image and it is used for job-seeking or maintenance of professional relationships.

https://twitter.com Twitter can be both personal and professional. It can be an effective tool for you to engage in issues and conversations that you care about.

https://www.instagram.com Instagram is for a personal image and it is often shared among friends and families; Instagram can also be an effective tool for product advertisement.

Why do people manage their online identities?

According to a Pew Research Center 2010 survey,

What methods do people use to manage their online identities?

According to a Pew Research Center 2010 survey, social networking users: