Online identities are unique to individuals; they are what in the modern age we use to profile others and ourselves through our repetition of actions and semiotics that profile our identities (A. Thomas2007). What can we gain from having a strong online identity, and how can we build a strong online identity?
Online identities don’t always reflect who someone is in reality, for example my online identity is not accurate. It does not reflect my emotions, insecurities or my personal triumphs. My online identity simple records my experiences and opinions. I consciously decide what information to release online, which makes my online identity a separate entity to my reality. A person can pick and choose what information they release and how it is presented online, thus creating changes between ones online identity and reality.
The Guardian journalist Aleks Krotoski suggests that the modern internet is a place where the online identity cannot remain separate from real life (2012). This proposes that although our online identity is not a representation of our identity but rather a separate aspect of it.
The construction of an online identity requires thought for the future; a future employer could be looking at my profile. My online identity is structured to how I want it. I use images that I deem appropriate. An online identity can document our narratives, document our lives (A, Poletti 2014). I see my online identity as a record of my narrative so far, it is a history of my experiences. And when someone views my profiles it is as if they are reading my narrative. The narrative I have constructed around myself.
By creating a strong online identity it can help one in social and work situations. That is one reason why the numbers of social network users are so high. There would be no reason for the sites if they didn’t serve to improve the lives of their members. Not only are social identities avenues to present ones profile to the world they are also pleas where creativity can flourish and ideas and creative works can be shared and admired (D, Gauntlett 2011).
When constructing my online identity I was not consciously trying to make myself seem a certain type of person. I put photos and statuses online that I felt were a part of my experiences. I update my story when I update my accounts. When I checked into a restaurant I was adding a paragraph to my life story. Perhaps in the future the world will look back on their online identities and social networking accounts as a memoir of the lives they have live, the sites acting like a virtual memory.
My online identity is well presented. My social networking profiles allow the world to view my online identity, which consist mainly of images. The photographs of my life this gives visuals to go with my identity. The types of images I upload do those who view my profile judge and then base their decisions of my identity based on only the visual?
An online identity doesn’t always reflect ones identity in reality. The online identity is created and may gradually becomes a part of a person’s actual identity. Online it is possible to heighten the things you like about yourself. When choosing a profile picture on Facebook you choose the image that you think best represents yourself. When constructing an online identity you choose the best things about yourself, the most socially acceptable. When I constructed my online identity I chose to use the images that I thought best represented me both socially and professionally, thus allowing me to further myself through my online identity by presenting the best version of myself.
Social networking sites are designed to help one network. Networking is useful in both social and professional situations and having my identity ticking both boxes contributes to my progression socially in both circumstances. The lack of opinion on my social networks enables my social identity to be passive and appeal to most people, by not putting anyone in a corner. This can appeal to people and act as a platform for building new friendship. It can appeal to future employers, they can get and idea of whom I am without having my opinions being thrown in their faces.
I feel I have a strong online identity, although not covering all the social networking sites I know of it does enough for my online identity to be accessible to people. The image I present of myself is well rounded, showing my interests in books and sports, but also showing through images with friends that I have a social life outside of my social identity. My online identity will be useful when future employers want to get an idea of who I am by looking at my profile, and it will continue to keep me in touch with friends.
A, Poletti, J Rak, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, 2014, University of Westcounsin Press, USA
A, Krotoski, Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?, 2012, the Guardian online, Australia
A, Thomas, Youth Online: Identity and Literacy in the Digital Age, 2007, Lang Publishing< New York, USA
D, Gauntlett, Making is connecting : the social meaning of creativity from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0, 2011, Polity Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Api.org.au, http://www.api.org.au/menuitem/professional-development/young-property-professionals, 2011, Australia, young property professionals,