Have you ever tried to Google yourself and someone else with the same name appears? It is important that you control what information of yours is going to appear when someone Google your name. So, is it better to have just one online identity? Or multiple identities?

Let us take a look at the pros and cons of having multiple online identities.


“78% of anonymous commenters will leave if forced to use a real identity” (Patrick, 2014). This shows the impact on how people express their opinions through the internet. By having different online identities, people are able to express their opinions more freely, as well as discussing sensitive issues. For example, blogging is a way to release stress. However, if an employee blogged about the bad experiences that he or she has been through with their employer, he or she might get sacked in consequences. Hence, being anonymous provides a layer of privacy.

With having multiple online identities, you are able to control your impression to people. You are able to lead your employer, friends or family in seeing what you want them to see. For instance, you will not want your employer to see photos like these


[Images from Ruhuan Ng’s Facebook]

that will spoil your reputation. Besides, it helps to provide a new starting point for people who want to start their life afresh. For example, someone who just came out from drug rehab and is looking for a job.


There may be people out there who are interested in you and wants you to work for them. However, by staying anonymous with different identity, they might not be able to contact you and therefore, you lose the job opportunity.

It is better to create a consistent online identity, so that people are able to track you down easily. It also prevents people from using your username and pollutes your identity with the different lifestyle that they have.

By having more than one online identity, it may appear to be confusing to people. So, who exactly is the real you? You may ended up appearing untrustworthy to people.

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

I do agree with that sentence. Nevertheless, you are who you are. There is nothing to hide and you should be proud of whatever you have done in your life. Therefore, I believe that it is better to have just one online identity.


Coasta, C & Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Edicacao, Formacao & Technologias. University of Saford. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]

Diaz, Z. (2010). 7 Steps to Building Your Online Identity. The Life Scoop.Youtube Video. 

Henry, A. (2012). Should I Keep My Personal and Professional Identities Completely Separate Online? Lifehacker. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]

Jarvis, J. (2011). One identity or more? Buzz Machine. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]

Krotoski, A. (2012). Online Identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important? The Guardian. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]

Masters, A. (2011). Identity on the Internet: The Pros and Cons of Anonymity. The Independent Blogs. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]

Patrick. (2014). 78% of Anonymous Commenters will Leave if Forced to Use a Real Identity. Managing Communities. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]

Robison, A. (2011). The Pros & Cons of Your Online Identity. Independent Fashion Bloggers. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]

Wagner, A. (2009). Online fake, real and multiple identities and personalities. WordPress. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]

Zimmer, M. (2010). Facebook’s Zuckerberg: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity”. Michael Zimmer. [Accessed: 1st December 2014]



  1. Ru Huan

    Branding ourselves online has become crucial in this digital age. I enjoy reading your post and appreciate you for sharing your pictures for illustration of improper online appearance to the employer. I believe that we all wanted to portray a positive images online and show our concern to the environmental changes to the people we interact with especially in building our professional pathway.

    In my opinion, some of us have the perception of having freedom to share our thought and experience online with multiple identities, which we can talk about sensitive issues anonymously or even pretend to be a different person from real life, but can we really hide it from the public? Can we control how people perceive us effectively?

    On the other hand, I find your assumption on that having more than one online identity may confuse and appear to be untrustworthy to people somehow debatable. Some of the people create different online identity to serve their different interest needs and to separate their private life with their professional life to prevent confusion, one example is that lecture creates an online identity to share important notices with their students without involving their private life.

    I look forward to your respond!



    1. Hi Daphne,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I have asked myself again this question today. Are we really anonymous to the public even when we use anonymous account? In the Hangout 6, Christina mentioned that nothing is private these days, which I agree. With the growing technology, whatever that we said in the internet can be track. Therefore, it further supports my standing point whereby everyone should just have one online identity.

      Regarding your second question, I believe that we can definitely control how we want people to perceive us as. I believe that everyone should only post materials that we want others to see. If you know that what you are going to post may reflect you badly, why would you want to do it?

      I agree that some people create different online identity to serve different needs. However, I still strongly believe that using one online identity can also portray the different needs to people. To your example, I believe that lecturers have to show a positive side of them portraying as a role model simply because they are a lecturer. However, if they portray an image that is different in their personal online identity, and the students found out, it may reflect negatively to the students which may appear untrustworthy.

      I hope my explanations are able to answer to your queries.



  2. Hi Ruhuan!

    Great post! I particularly like the part where you mentioned that one of the benefits of having multiple online identities is to allow people who have a troubled past to start anew with a new online identity. However, I believe that there are several implications to this. To name one, assuming I am an employer, it is sometimes best to know the complete background of the person that I am hiring. For example, if I am running a childcare business, I would have to ensure that I do not hire anyone who has a history of child abuse or shows any signs of participation in any abusive activities when I search him/her up on the web.

    I, too, am a firm believer of having a consistent online identity as it gives the impression that I have nothing to hide. Seeing that you have used Mark Zuckerberg’s quote on online identity, I would also like to share with you this really interesting article that our classmate, Tor, found where Mark had actually changed his mind on that and shared his new perspective on this issue.

    I hope the article helps us both building more understanding around the topic! Great job! Loved how you were able to relate the topic to real-life examples!


    1. Hi Evan,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I understand that some employers would like to have a complete view on the candidate’s background.

      However, you said that if you are the employer of childcare business, you would not hire someone who has a history of child abuse or etc. This simply shows that you are discriminating those people. Hence, leading to why people tends to create a new identity so that they are able to start afresh. Everyone deserves a second chance, don’t you think so?

      However, I do agree with you that these people should show their complete background to people. However, people have to be less discriminating. They have to believe that those people have changed. Applying it to the example that you have mentioned, if that person fits the criteria of the job application, and you hire him without discriminating his past, he may be able to prove to people that he has change, which helps him to start his life afresh.

      Nevertheless, thanks for introducing the article to me! It definitely adds on to my understanding of this topic! Cheers!



      1. Hi Ruhuan!

        Yes, I do agree that one should not discriminate against people with troubled past. 🙂

        I was simply giving an example of how an employer would want to seek out information that may be relevant in their employment process.

        I look forward to future discussions with you!


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