Dual identities: online transparency

A colleague on a social media group I’m a part of shared this article today after we talked about online transparency and personal vs. professional identities.

Many of us don’t think twice about laying out details of our personal lives in public for all to see. Many might even be using our real names, just as Facebook‘s Mark Zuckerberg likes it. On the other hand, consider free-for-all meme site 4chan, where users cavort about in complete anonymity. That site’s founder, Christopher “Moot” Poole, thinks anonymity fosters creativity, honesty, and authentic content sharing.

Read more here

I was really struck by Mark Zuckerberg’s quote in the infographic in that article, saying that you have” one identity, and more than one identity is an example of a lack of integrity.” Do you agree? Or does this seem a little too black and white?

I have to admit, my first reaction is to agree with Zuckerberg. If you have an opinion, idea, or project, you should stand behind it. Anonymous identities don’t come across as trustworthy sources in many scenarios, but it does provide some cover for the ‘whistleblower.’

I’ve talked about this before, but I have yet to act on it. See, I use Twitter and Linked In professionally, but my personal life is on Facebook. I hold back about linking my Facebook with my other online “identities.” And to be honest, I keep fairly private on  Facebook. As my colleague said in our discussion yesterday, “Do I want clients knowing about my eggs and bacon for breakfast and my pajamas?” It’s something you have to be comfortable with, for sure.

One reason I’m drawn to Google + is because you can separate people you follow into circles, and reveal certain things to certain circles of people and not to others. That’s how most people live their everyday lives, isn’t it? Or is that showing a lack of integrity, as Zuckerberg would put it?

Share your opinion with me on this topic, because I am really interested in what people are thinking about this and/or doing with it. Have you linked all your identities online, and why or why not?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Dual identities: online transparency

  1. Thanks for your thoughts, Martijn! I agree with you and so far it sounds like we are similar on how and where we share information on ourselves. I knew exactly where you were going on your last point, and yes, that is another topic worth discussing. But in terms of building online relationships and connections, I don’t think many people would consider the data collectors as someone to connect with and build relationships with. However, they are out there and the more you share the more they know about you. Good thing to think about, for sure.

  2. Some random thoughts:
    I’ve been playing around with Google+ and really liking it, one of the reasons being the Circle concept and the possibility to share different content to different sets of people. I also found myself sharing more stuff in the public channel than I did before, although I must say these are not shares on personal matters. Furthermore, Google has made it clear that all Google Profiles will be public (a profile needed to even sign up for Google+), so part of your real life identity will be out there. Of course it’s up to you how much information you want made public in your profile.
    I have linked my Twitter accounts and a link to my LinkedIn profile in Google+. My Facebook is kept for a small circle of friends, and I set the privacy options there pretty tight.
    I don’t think having dual identities is a lack of integrity. Everyone has different identities/roles in real life, to a certain extent, so online life might just reflect that.
    Finally (last random thought 🙂 , maybe you should divide the online transparency/multiple identities question in two (even though in a technical sense, this might not be possible):
    1. transparency between the you and the datacollectors (trackingcompanies, searchengines, retailers etc.)
    2. transparency between you and the other netizens

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