Topic 6

The Final Reflection

As a Curriculum Innovation module, I wasn’t sure what to expect from UOSM2008. Whilst I considered myself to be a fairly experienced ‘digital resident’ before the module, I was keen learn more about the web as a tool for both personal and professional development.

Self-Test: Then and Now

Self-Test
Figure 1. Self-Test Results (self-produced via Piktochart)

My Learning Journey

The experience of creating and maintaining a blog was challenging, yet rewarding. One thing that surprised me about the module was how much freedom we had to make our blog our own, as well as the freedom to engage with peers and lecturers on Twitter. This was certainly a welcome change to the restricted and rigid structure of modules I had previously taken.

Having 3 deadlines fortnightly was an aspect that I was initially apprehensive about. However, this kept me on my toes and strengthened my time-management skills, which I’m sure I’ll be thankful for when I enter the fast-paced working world. The infographic below captures the highlights of my learning journey.

 

My Learning Journey
Figure 2. My Learning Journey (self-produced via Visme)

Development: Knowledge

One thing that surprised me about the module was the depth and complexity of the topics explored. Each week, I immersed myself in the literature of the set topic and applied my own critique in the main blog post, only to discover that I had merely scratched the surface!

I also completely underestimated the value of interacting with others. By asking questions, sharing ideas and engaging in discussion, I quickly realised that there was a lot I could learn from communicating with my peers. For me personally, collaborating with others was the most valuable experience of the module and something I hope to take forward in my future career. The slideshow below summarises the topics explored and the knowledge I gained from them.

Topic Summaries
Figure 3. Topic Summaries (self-produced via Prezi)

Development: Skills

An aspect of the module that I found difficult was keeping to the very limited word count. This encouraged me to not only write more concisely, but also to think outside the box and explore different ways of presenting information visually. I was also surprised at how much I could apply the skills gained from the module to my university studies and part-time marketing role. If someone told me at the start of the module that I would be creating, editing and recording a voiceover for my own YouTube video, I wouldn’t have believed it…

Development: Digital Portfolio

Being an active social media user for both personal and professional use, I didn’t expect my profiles to undergo much change. Thus, I was amazed to see how much of an impact the module had on my online presence. The video below outlines some of the key steps I’ve taken to build my digital portfolio.

Figure 4. My Digital Portfolio (self-produced via PowToon)

Future Steps

Beyond the knowledge and skills I’ve gained, the most significant improvement for me has been my confidence. I now feel confident in my ability to continue blogging through my personal lifestyle blog, as well as the ability to boost my career opportunities through professional networking. As I graduate and embark on a career in marketing, this module is one that has not only enriched my university experience, but one that I will take forward with me as I continue to live and work on the web.

Figure 5. Steps to be taken beyond the module (self-produced via Google Slides)

(530 words)

My Profiles

Twitter

LinkedIn

YouTube

about.me

Personal blog

Topic 5

Topic 5: Reflection

Despite initially finding this week’s topic challenging, I did notice an improvement in my critical writing ability, particularly with regards to evaluating online information and providing a clear and balanced argument. I also experienced a change in my communication skills, as evidenced in the learning process outlined below.

Open Access: The Learning Process
Figure 1. The Learning Process (self-produced via Canva)

In response to Mark’s comment, we discussed the sustainability of open access in terms of publishing revenues. We acknowledged that advertising may be a good alternative to paywalls, but admitted that its success depends on the context (e.g., academic publishing vs. journalistic publishing), the size of the publishing company and associated web traffic.

Eloane supported the view that publicly-funded research should be publicly available, but emphasised that this still brings some disadvantages for the content producer, which may discourage researchers from engaging in publicly-funded research in the future.

Furthermore, Sharon and I explored instances where access to online information had been restricted by the government (e.g., Turkey and China), and discussed the knock-on effect this may have in widening the digital divide.

Cherie’s comment brought to my attention the role of Creative Commons, and how this may work in conjunction with open access. We also discussed the link between awareness of open access and positive perceptions of open access, and how this has practical implications for increasing awareness amongst the academic community.

Finally, Andrei shared his experiences with a specific type of open access: MOOCs. We discussed some of the problems with MOOCs, such as their potential to raise copyright issues, and suggested reasons as to why completion rates of MOOCs may be low, such as the lack of professional accreditation.

Overall, it’s evident that by interacting with others, I was able to explore various avenues of open access and consider different perspectives. To consolidate my knowledge further, I have summarised how open access links to previous topics in the Prezi slideshow below.

Open Access Overview
Figure 2. Overview of How Open Access Links to Previous Topics (self-produced via Prezi)

(311 words)

Comments

Andrei’s post

Sharon’s post

References

Frantsvåg, J. E. (2010). The role of advertising in financing open access journals. First Monday.

Gumrukcu, T. (2017). Turkish court rejects Wikipedia’s appeal over website’s blocking: Anadolu. Reuters.

Kaba, A., & Said, R. A. (2015). Open access awareness, use, and perception: A case study of AAU faculty members. New Library World, 116, 94-103.

Rajeck, J. (2017). The Great Firewall of China 2017 update: The good and the bad. Econsultancy.

Topic 5

Topic 5: Open Access – Is There A Dark Side?

What is Open Access?
Introduction to Open Access
Figure 1. Introduction to Open Access (self-produced via Haiku Deck, with information from Jisc)

Within higher education, we all know the frustration that comes with finding a great journal article, only to find that it’s access is restricted. This has become a particular issue for me, a content consumer, over the course of writing my dissertation. However, what does restricted access and open access mean from the point of view of a content producer?

Figure 2. Pros and Cons of Open Access (self-produced via Biteable)

As shown, there are a number pros and cons that content producers must consider when choosing where to publish their work.

The Debate For

Despite the drawbacks, perceptions of open access appear to be improving. A study found that in 2014, 40% of scientists had concerns about the quality of open access publications, a figure which dropped to 27% in 2015 (Author Insights Survey, 2015).

An important argument for open access comes from the view that publicly funded research should be publicly available (Merkley, 2016). Whilst some argue that the people that really need access to scientific papers (researchers, medical professionals, academic students) have access through their institutions, what about the rest of the population who are left in the dark? (Browne, 2014). Over the past few years, the science community has recognised the flaws of restricted access, based on the idea that paywalls inhibit further research, education and innovation (Dunn, 2013). Moreover, some of the ethical issues discussed in Topic 4, such as the digital divide, may be reduced through the use of open access (Geib, 2013).

Professor Stevan Harnad argument for open access
Figure 3. Argument For Open Access (self-produced via Canva)

With many reasons for, you might be left thinking, “of course all online content should be free to access”. However, there are two sides to every coin…

The Debate Against

A major argument against open access comes from the perception that open access journals contain poorer quality articles (Curry, 2012). This has become a particular concern with the emergence of predatory publishing, or, the ‘dark side’ of open access (Pickler et al., 2014). Yet, from the perspective of the content producer, publishing open access can be as expensive, if not more expensive, than publishing via the traditional model (Geib, 2013). Furthermore, some argue that open access publishing runs the risk of demonising junior researchers and PhD students, who may often choose to publish their work in prestigious journals, behind paywalls, to boost their own career opportunities (Chambers, 2013). Should this choice not to go open access be considered selfish?

Michael J. Held argument against open access
Figure 4. Argument Against Open Access (self-produced via Canva)
Conclusion?

Overall, the debate on open access appears to create a conflict between what’s good for science and what’s good for scientists (Chambers, 2013). Whilst I am certainly in support of open access from the perspective of a content consumer, the arguments relating to the perspective of a content producer are not quite so clear-cut.

(419 words)

References

Author Insights Survey (2015). Nature Publishing Group.

Browne, T. (2014). Let’s shine a light on paywalls that deny open access to scientific research. The Guardian.

Chambers, C. (2013). Those who publish research behind paywalls are victims not perpetrators. The Guardian.

Curry, S. (2012). Set science free from publishers’ paywalls. New Scientist.

Dunn, D. (2013). Education Finally Ripe For Radical Innovation By Social Entrepreneurs. Forbes.

Geib, A. (2013). Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access. edanz editing.

Hitt, E. (2003). Pros and Cons of Open-Access Publishing Debated. Medscape.

Jisc (2016). An introduction to open access.

Merkley, R. (2016). You Pay to Read Research You Fund. That’s Ludicrous. Wired.

Pickler, R., Noyes, J., Perry, L., Roe, B., Watson, R., & Hayter, M. (2014). Authors and readers beware the dark side of Open Access. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(10). 2221-2223.

Wiley, D., Green, C., & Soares, L. (2012). Dramatically Bringing down the Cost of Education with OER. Center For American Progress.

Figure References

Figure 1: Self-produced via Haiku Deck.

Figure 2: Self-produced via Biteable.

Figure 3: Self-produced via Canva.

Figure 4: Self-produced via Canva.

Featured image

Topic 4

Topic 4: Reflection

My post this week focused on social media endorsements, and whilst I thought I had covered most of the ethical issues involved, I soon realised that there was more to explore. Through comments on my blog, Madeleine brought to my attention some of the drawbacks of endorsements, David highlighted the differences between social media endorsements and traditional media endorsements, and Wil introduced me to factors influencing endorsement effectiveness, such as country of origin (Roy & Bagdare, 2015). Below is an infographic summarising other ethical issues explored by my peers.

Ethical Issues within Social Media
Figure 1. Ethical issues within social media (self-produced using Canva)

In Topic 2, we explored the issues surrounding online identities, including the debate on privacy. These issues became particularly topical due to the recent news regarding the repeal of US rules on selling consumer data (Solon, 2017). Following my comment on Faazila’s blog, we discussed that while initial intentions of data collection may be good (e.g., to improve targeted advertising or identify threats of terrorism), the fact that users have no control over their personal data raises some major ethical concerns.

UOSM2008 in the news
Figure 2. Examples of where social media ethics have cropped up in the media (self-produced using Canva and screenshots from Twitter)

In Topic 3, we considered the use of the web as a tool for recruitment. Relating back to this, myself and Scott discussed the ethical issues of social media screening. We agreed that basing hiring decisions on personal information found on social profiles is unethical, particularly if unconscious discriminatory biases are at play (Hazelton & Terhorst, 2015). Furthermore, we evaluated possible solutions to these problems, such as name-blind recruitment (Parkinson & Smith-Walters, 2015).

Finally, since UOSM2008 is a prime example of an educational use of social media, I have touched upon some of the ethical issues relating to education in the presentation linked below.

Social Media Ethics in Education
Figure 3. Ethical issues of social media in education (self-produced using Canva)

Overall, exploring different perspectives greatly aided my understanding of this topic. One thing that remains clear is that the topic of ethics is a grey area, particularly when combined with the uncontrolled environments of the internet and social media.

(299 words)

Comments

Faazila’s post

Scott’s post

References

Annual Cyberbullying Survey (2016). Ditch The Label.

Hazelton, A. S., & Terhorst, A. (2015). Legal and ethical considerations for social media hiring practices in the workplace. The Hilltop Review, 7(2), 53-59.

Parkinson, J., & Smith-Walters, M. (2015). Who, What, Why: What is name-blind recruitment? BBC News.

Roy, S., & Bagdare, S. (2015). The role of country of origin in celebrity endorsements: Integrating effects of brand familiarity. Journal of Global Marketing, 28(3-5), 133-151.

Solon, O. (2017). Your browsing history may be up for sale soon. Here’s what you need to know. The Guardian.

Topic 4

Topic 4: Social Media Ethics – The Power of Online Endorsements

The term ethics refers to moral principles that govern behaviour (Oxford Dictionary, 2017). In the context of social media and business, ethics can refer to a company’s duty to engage with online consumers in a way that is appropriate, honest and morally sound (Drushal & German, 2011). Due to my interest marketing, I have chosen to focus on the ethics of social media endorsements.

Figure 1. Introduction to social media endorsements (self-produced via PowToon)

Social Media Endorsements

Research shows that electronic word-of-mouth communications are used by consumers to assess the reputation of brands (Amblee & Bui, 2014). To support this, a survey found that 83% of web users use recommendations to guide purchasing behaviour (Neilsen, 2015). The moral dilemma here? Whether businesses are unlawfully using online endorsements to exploit consumer trust.

Social media endorsements infographic
Figure 2. Social media endorsements infographic (self-produced via Piktochart)
Ethical Issues

The ethical issue here lies in whether consumers should be made aware of sponsored endorsements on social media. Paid-for endorsements that are not obvious to the public can be considered manipulative (Gillingham, 2011). It is arguably immoral for an influencer to promote something as their own opinion, and consequently sway a consumer’s purchasing behaviour, when in fact they are being paid to promote this opinion (Wilkinson, 2015).

These ethical issues are particularly concerning for ‘result-driven’ products such as detox teas, weight-loss supplements and teeth whiteners (Campbell, 2015). These products, often endorsed by popular social influencers, convince young people that they too can achieve ‘beauty’ or ‘health’ if they purchase the product. If the product fails to meet expectations, this can have a damaging impact on a young person’s self-esteem, in addition to the compromising physical and psychological effects of the product itself (Campbell, 2015).

Figure 3. Examples of undisclosed endorsements (self-produced via Google Slides)

Combating the Issue

There has been a recent crackdown on undisclosed endorsements. In the USA, the FTC requires explicit disclosure of an endorsement that informs the public it is paid-for. In the UK, this is governed by the ASA. These rules protect the reputation of both the brand and the influencer and prevent consumers from being misled. A win-win situation, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple, as endorsement guidelines are susceptible to misinterpretation and difficult to enforce (Schwab, 2016). Also, from a personal perspective, if I see ‘#ad’ or ‘#spon’ attached to an endorsement for a brand, this immediately raises questions about the brand’s credibility. So, whilst disclosed endorsements allow consumers to make more informed decisions, a perceived lack of authenticity can reduce the advertising impact of the endorsement.

It is worth noting that ethics, particularly within social media, are subjective in nature and often have no clear right or wrong answers. Thus, the question here remains, can a compromise of transparent but effective social media marketing be achieved?

(413 words)

References

Advertising Standards Authority (2017). UK code of non-broadcast advertising and direct & promotional marketing.

Amblee, N., & Bui, T. (2014). Harnessing the influence of social proof in online shopping: The effect of electronic word of mouth on sales of digital microproducts. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 16(2), 91-114.

Campbell, L. (2015). Current laws and social responsibility around social media product endorsements. The Huffington Post.

Drushal, B., German, K. (2011). The ethics of emerging media: Information, social norms, and the new media technology. New York, NY: Continuum.

Federal Trade Commission (2017). Guides concerning use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

Gillingham, E. (2011). The ethics of celebrity endorsement via social media sites.

Langford, L. (2014). Celebrity endorsement on social media. Campaign.

Oxford Dictionary (2017). Definition of ethics.

Schwab, D. (2016). No, you don’t need to write #ad in your promoted tweet. Forbes.

The Neilsen Company (2015). Global Trust in Advertising Report.

Wilkinson, O. (2015). Celebrity endorsements on social media. Knapton Wright Social Media Marketing.

Figure References

Figure 1: Self-produced using PowToon.

Figure 2: Self-produced using Piktochart and this source.

Figure 3: Self-produced using Google Slides and sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Featured image

Topic 3

Topic 3: Reflection

This week’s topic encouraged us to delve deeper into the issues of online identities and consider our own strategies for developing a professional online presence. As I reach the mid-point of my UOSM2008 journey, I’ve taken a moment to reflect on my experiences so far.

Mid-Module Reflection
Figure 1. Mid-module reflection (self-produced using Piktochart)

One point that resonated with me this week was Mark’s statement that “success is when you can bring something new to someone”. To me, this highlighted a fundamental reason as to why we should develop a professional online identity. In order to get ahead in an increasingly competitive job market, we must find ways to differentiate ourselves from the crowd.

One way to achieve this is through self-promotion. As Brad and I discussed, it is important to achieve a balance between highlighting your skills and experiences, whilst at the same time avoiding deception and appearing inauthentic. As discussed with Mark, consistent personal branding is also an important aspect to consider. As outlined below, I have taken strategies to develop my personal brand, including the creation of an about.me page to tie my online profiles together.

Personal Branding Changes
Figure 2. Changes to personal branding (self-produced using Canva)

My discussion with Carolina highlighted that blogging can benefit individuals from a range of backgrounds. A blog, whether about industry-related issues or personal interests, provides a key insight into an individual’s personality. As mentioned to Caiti, personality and cultural fit have become increasingly important to employers, resulting in an increased use of social media within recruitment (Wilde, n.d.). This further reinforces the importance of effectively managing all our online profiles, both professional and personal.

Do's and Don'ts for Professional Online Profiles
Figure 3. Do’s and don’ts for professional online profiles (self-produced using Piktochart)

Finally, in my discussions with both Carolina and Mark, questions were raised about the future of CVs. Are we set to see an emergence of blogs as CVs? Or will CVs will take a different direction in the form of video CVs? Only time can tell. One thing’s for sure is that your professional online identity does matter, so it’s a good idea to ensure it remains a positive reflection of you!

(324 words)

Comments

Brad’s post

Caiti’s post

References

Dowdy, T. (n.d.). The do’s and don’ts of social networking for professionals. The Online Mom.

Hansen, K. (n.d.). Use your blog as a resume? Part I: Pros and cons. Live Career.

Ruesink, M. (2014). Social media do’s and don’ts: 10 tips for keeping your profiles professional. Rasmussen College.

Turner, A. (2011). Top 5 tips for creating impressive video resumes. Mashable.

Wilde, T. (n.d.). How to learn more about a candidate’s personality with social media. Social Hire.

Figure References

Figure 1: Self-produced using Piktochart.

Figure 2: Self-produced using Canva.

Figure 3: Self-produced using Piktochart.

Topic 3

Topic 3: Building A Professional Online Identity

Through exploring multiple online identities in Topic 2, it’s clear that an increasing number of web users are choosing to portray both personal and professional facets of their identities online. But why is building a professional online identity important? The video below provides some insight.

Figure 1. Social Recruitment Statistics (self-produced with statistics from Jobvite, 2014)

Marketing Yourself

With such changes in the way employers approach recruitment, it makes sense for individuals to mirror this approach in terms of their careers, and that’s where personal branding comes in (Nyman, 2014a). In the same way that marketers promote brands, individuals can promote themselves to potential employers (Weiss, 2013). This idea of ‘personal branding’ can be explored through professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. By taking on a digital resident role and actively managing your online presence, you can network with industry professionals, explore career opportunities and increase your visibility to potential employers (Carruthers, 2012). Whilst I’m no LinkedIn expert, I have acquired some useful tips on how to build a successful profile, as outlined below.

Figure 2. LinkedIn Tips (self-produced with information from Nyman, 2014b)

Achieving Authenticity

There’s a fine line between marketing yourself and putting employers off, and that’s where authenticity comes in. Authenticity is about being original and genuine, which are traits that people value both offline and online (Winstead, 2015). As the phrase goes, “people hire people”, so showing a bit of personality through your online presence can go a long way to securing a job role. Whilst creating an authentic profile is easier said than done, a good start is to share your values, passions and goals in an honest and open manner. This can be achieved through blogging or an online portfolio, both of which demonstrate creativity, enthusiasm and dedication (TheEmployable, 2014).

The Key to Consistency

Consumers prefer brands that are consistent, and the same applies to online users that experience your personal brand (Noble, 2013). To build a consistent online presence, I suggest using a similar tone of voice across platforms and, where possible, the same name, username and profile photo (James, 2015). Consistency can also be achieved through an about.me page, which pulls together all of your online profiles to reinforce a coherent online identity. It’s also a good idea to ensure that your true values and the values you present online are consistent. After all, you are what you share, post, like and tweet (take note, Justin Saco!).

Authenticity and consistency interlink
Figure 3. Authenticity and consistency are interlinked (self-produced using Canva)

Whilst there are numerous ways to approach building a professional online identity, I’ve noticed three emerging themes: Market yourself, remain authentic and be consistent. In the current digital world, your professional online presence could make or break an opportunity, so be sure to consider it thoughtfully and carefully.

(418 words)

References

Carruthers, R. (2012). Managing your digital footprint. Career Destinations, University of Southampton.

James (2015). Maintaining a consistent brand identity across social platforms. LCN.

Jobvite (2014). Social Recruiting Survey 2014.

Noble, J. T. (2013). Truth will out – why authenticity is the key to growing your business. Kissmetrics Blog.

Nyman, N. (2014a). I’ll tweet you my job spec if you snap me your CV. Web Science MOOC.

Nyman, N. (2014b). Let’s get LinkedIn. Neil’s Recruitment.

Ronson, J. (2015). How one stupid tweet blew up Justin Saco’s life. The New York Times Magazine.

Tapscott, D. (2014). Five ways talent management must change. World Economic Forum.

TheEmployable (2014). How blogging can get you a job. TheEmployable.

Weiss, M. (2013). Job hunting: How to promote yourself online. BBC News.

Winstead, R. (2015). Being yourself: The importance of authenticity in online marketing. Business 2 Community.

Figure References

Figure 1: Self-produced using PowToon and information from Jobvite (2014).

Figure 2: Self-produced using Google Slides and information from Nyman (2014b).

Figure 3: Self-produced using Canva and this image.

Featured image

Topic 2

Topic 2: Reflection

Something that struck me whilst reading other posts was how differently people interpreted the concept of multiple online identities. Catherine’s comment highlighted that in my post, I perceived multiple identities as adapting one’s behaviour to suit different social media platforms and audiences. In contrast, others saw it as having more than one profile within a social media platform, such as separate Twitter accounts for personal and professional. Upon reflection, my online identity can be perceived from both perspectives.

My Online Identity
Figure 1. My online identity – multiple or single?

Whilst my post focused mainly on the authenticity vs. anonymity debate, others explored different aspects, such as digital footprints. Jordan’s post emphasised the fact that many services on the web collect personal data even when we do not actively give out information, such as Google searches or browsing on Amazon. This sparked a discussion between myself and Carolina, and whilst we acknowledged the benefits of this from a marketing perspective, it’s clear that digital footprints can compromise user privacy.

To take this point further, Catherine explored the idea of data mining, which raises a whole host of issues to do with security. It is about getting the balance between feeling in control of personal data, and allowing data mining services to use personal data to benefit society. For example, to track disease outbreaks or identify threats of terrorism. These ideas made me question whether we can ever be totally anonymous on the web, even with multiple online identities. Taking the views of my peers into account, I have provided a brief summary of the pros and cons below.

Pros and Cons
Figure 2. Pros and cons of multiple online identities

Overall, I feel that Topic 2 has encouraged me to venture out of my comfort zone and has given me the confidence to have my own take on the issues involved. Not only has my understanding of the topic greatly improved, but through the creation of visual materials I have also gained competence in my use of graphic design tools. Below are some of the key learning points I have taken from this topic.

Managing Your Online Identity
Figure 3. Managing your online identity (click to view slideshow on Prezi)

(330 words)

Comments

Carolina’s post

Mark’s post

References

Internet Society. How can I manage my digital footprints?

Marcotte, B. (2017). Millions of tweets are a gold mine for data mining. University of Rochester.

Shaw, J. (2016). Twitter bans intel agencies from using terror detecting data mining service. Hot Air.

Figure References

Figure 1: Self-produced using Canva.

Figure 2: Self-produced using Piktochart.

Figure 3: Self-produced using Prezi.

Topic 2

Topic 2: Online Identities

Your ‘online identity’ is the sum of your characteristics and interactions with the web (Internet Society). This is not limited to social media, but also includes aspects of online shopping, banking, gaming etc. An online identity is made up of several partial identities, or personas, that represent different characteristics based on information that ourselves and others provide. These concepts are summarised below.

Figure 1. Summary of online identities.

As Blascovich (2011) expressed in his TED Talk, most of us have multiple online identities made up of several different personas, an idea he referred to as ‘fluid identities’. For example, I tend to use Facebook to keep up with friends and family, Twitter for current affairs, Instagram for all things aesthetically pleasing and Snapchat for the boring bits in between. Although my audiences in each case overlap to some extent, they are not the same, and thus I adapt my personas to suit. Whilst at first glance the idea of multiple identities may appear deceptive or manipulative, it is a multifaceted issue that has sparked a huge debate among online communities (Krotoski, 2012).

Authenticity vs. Anonymity Debate
Figure 2. Opinions of key influencers in the ‘authenticity vs. anonymity’ debate.

An obvious benefit of having multiple online identities is the ability to freely express personal content, whilst still having control over your professional appearance (Henry, 2012). This keeps your friends from making fun of your CV and prevents your boss from seeing those compromising night-out photos. Furthermore, multiple identities are beneficial for brands that wish to tailor their content to specific platforms and audiences. Multiple identities also allow for anonymity, enabling those who wish to hide an aspect of their identity to do so. For example, many writers and bloggers use pseudonyms in order to express themselves without being judged and to maintain a sense of privacy (Faith et al., 2011).

However, with regards to authenticity, having multiple identities may lead people to think you are untrustworthy or that you have something to hide. Due to the control we have over what we share, our online identities are increasingly curated, widening the gap between our online and offline selves (Casserly, 2011). The anonymity that appeals to many online users also creates an environment where cyberbullies, scammers and sexual predators can thrive. An example of this includes the hacking scandal where indecent images of celebrities were retrieved from Apple iCloud and subsequently posted on 4chan, an anonymous image sharing forum (Buchanan, 2015).

Overall, having online identities, whether one or multiple, authentic or anonymous, depends on our motivations and goals for using the web. Whichever side of the debate we stand, being aware of the benefits and drawbacks of multiple identities is important in our navigation of the digital world (Costa & Torres, 2011).

(438 words)

References

Blascovich, J. (2011). Digital freedom: Virtual reality, avatars, and multiple identities: Jim Blascovich at TEDxWinnipeg. YouTube.

Buchanan, R. T. (2015). Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leak sparks fear of more celebrity hackings: ‘A flagrant violation of privacy’. The Independent.

Casserly, M. (2011). Multiple Personalities And Social Media: The Many Faces of Me. Forbes.

Costa, C., & Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação e Tecnologias, 47-53.

Faith, J., Siren, S., Marks, A., & Lee, A. (2011). The Pros & Cons of Your Online Identity. Independent Fashion Bloggers.

Henry, A. (2012). Should I Keep My Personal and Professional Identities Completely Separate Online? LifeHacker.

Internet Society. Online Identity Overview.

Krotoski, A. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important? The Guardian.

Figure References

Figure 1: Self-produced using Slideshare.
Figure 2: Self-produced using Piktochart and the following images: Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Allen, Christopher Poole, Andrew Lewman, Michael Heyward.