Topic 2: Reflection

I definitely felt the pressure to up my blog-game this week. I enjoyed this topic much more than Topic 1, as I was able to understand how my web use impacts my online privacy. I had a vague understanding about cookies and how websites use them to tailor our online experiences but I never realised how extreme this is.

Brad’s comments were interesting, citing an article about how Snapchat can retrieve your digital media despite claiming all media exchanged on the app is deleted forever. This is a violation of online privacy, seeing as this is not a disclaimer when downloading the app. The report also discusses issues about users using it to exchange sexual messages and images, under the impression they cannot be stored which is worrying.

Many comments on my blog asked about my personal experience. This led me to create the infographic below to easily lay out the footprints I leave.

Figure 1: My digital footprints, self-produced. 

Carolina questioned what age is it acceptable to begin creating identities, citing a video about parents who create social media accounts for their young teenagers. Although the article by Lenhart I cited reports teenagers are more likely to control their identities, that does not necessarily apply to young teens starting social media for the first time. Therefore, I think it’s actually helpful for parents to assist in setting up accounts as they can help them navigate websites and teach them about digital footprints and how to protect themselves online. If parents don’t do this, it is likely the children will set up accounts anyway and be at risk.

Since Topic 2 was so enlightening about how private our online identities really are, I shall be using precautions other blogs suggested and listed below in order to protect my online identity.

Figure 2: How to protect your online identity, self-produced. 

Link to my comments:

Word Count: 295




Topic 2: Online Identities

The web is a wonderful thing. It lets us access a pool of knowledge at our fingertips; connect with family and friends on other continents and even order items online for same day delivery. However, with the many amazing benefits of the online world, also come some concerns. Use of the Internet grows exponentially every day and with that, more and more people are leaving digital footprints behind and creating what is called their ‘digital identity’.

An online identity is an identity a user establishes by engaging with the web in online communities and websites. A user can create multiple identities or just one and can also choose whether to fabricate a new online persona or maintain their authentic identity online.

There are many questions raised when it comes to thinking about our online identities, including:

  • How much do I share online?
  • Do I have one identity or multiple?
  • Can I trust someone with multiple identities?
  • How do I separate my personal and professional identities?

Some research suggests that whilst we can choose whether to have one identity or multiple, it is challenging (Costa and Torres, 2011). Every time we engage with online communities and websites we leave tiny trails behind that gradually build up to create another identity. Identities can be used as a great marketing tool for websites to tailor their content to what they think you’d like best.

Like with all things, there are of course pros and cons to having more than one identity online, explored in the comic below.

Figure 2: A comic explaining the pros and cons of multiple online identities

Some studies have found that teenagers in particular actively manage their online profiles, both for authenticity but also to edit some parts so to protect personal information from strangers (Lenhart and Madden, 2007). Developments from Goffman’s work also found that people were generally keen to replicate their offline identity online (Bullingham and Vasconcelos, 2013). Although a main benefit of having multiple identities online means remaining anonymous, it has also been found that other online users are less likely to interact with profiles they do not know or trust (Costa and Torres, 2011).

Figure 3: What experts think of multiple identities. Quotes from this Guardian article

The video below explains online identities in more detail. It claims that there are 3 layers to everyone’s digital identity: public, private and personal and recommends tips in order to protect your identity online such as using separate email addresses.

Word Count: 394


Bullingham, L. and Vasconcelos, A. (2013). ‘The presentation of self in the online world’: Goffman and the study of online identities. Journal of Information Science, [online] 39(1), pp.101-112. Available at: [Accessed 21 Feb. 2017].

Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Revista Educacao, Formacao & Technologias. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Feb. 2017].

Krotoski, A. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?. The Guardian. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2017].

Lenhart, A. and Madden, M., 2007. Teens, privacy and online social networks: How teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace.

Miller, C. (2012). Personal Security Online: How to Protect Your Identity With 3 Layers!. Available at: [Accessed 21 Feb. 2017].

Image references:

Figure 1: flickr, (2012). [image] Available here.

Figure 2: Self-produced via

Figure 3: Self-produced using the following images

flickr, (2009). [image] Available here.

flickr, (2011). [image] Available here.

flickr, (2012). [image] Available here.

flickr, (2012). [image] Available here.