Online identity is something very specific in terms of how you use a particular online website, social media or application. It relies on the way you interact with your audiences in different spaces and the persona you build on that platform. The internet is seen as a collaborative and social space where individuals can build, edit, rebuild, reconstruct and delete their online identity and profiles as they desire to suit their platform-specific persona ( Aresta et al. 2015).
I am a person that likes to keep my creativity flourishing on Instagram by maintaining an aesthetic and colour co-ordinated social feed. Whereas on Facebook my profile is very private and intimate where I usually only interact with close friends and family. My LinkedIn profile, on the other hand, is professional, sophisticated and polished, where I interact with professionals, scholars and people related to my field. Twitter is my newest baby and has been added to my online identity only recently; I’m still figuring out what my persona on Twitter is but I know it is a blend of work and play. On Twitter, I interact with my buddies and follow people and things I like. I pour my heart out on Twitter, but only in 280 characters or less.
Online identity is like a Rubik’s cube. It is the culmination of your different innate personality’s strategically layered on different online platforms for the world to see. Each platform is a colour of its own, having its own side, its own niche and audience. Together all the coloured sides make up the Rubik’s cube which is your online presence and identity spread across different platforms. Social networking and online profiles inform about the networking patterns of an individual. It illustrates how a person visualises and connects with the world around him (Srivastava et al. 2018).
This illustrates that all your online personalities can co-exist with ease and be different and engaging at the same time. It means that you can be a professional scholar on LinkedIn and build relations and connections related to that side of your personality, while on the other hand, you could be a photographer and wine connoisseur on Instagram and a party freak and goofball on Twitter.
But how can you maintain these multi-dimensional personalities? How can you prevent the panels of the Rubik’s cube puzzle from mixing into an unsolvable mess?
You can use different online platforms to channel different interests that you possess. Use the various online tools and features of that particular platform to engage with your audiences in a meaningful way, to create engaging content. Use Instagram as a pictorial representation of your life and all the things you love, try your hands at photography or even blend your interests of cooking and photography, make-up and styling and find your niche to portray through photographs and videos.
View this post on Instagram
Don't know whether to look at the intricate veins of the dead leaf or at the intricate veins of the tea garden trails!🍂 _____________________________________________ #tea #leaf #roads #beautiful #nature #travel #explore #yellow #green #blue #mirik #darjeeling #skyline #potd #pretty #cloudporn #special #scenic
Social media platforms are becoming more inclusive. Multiple platforms have features to put up personalised stories only for 24 hours. You can reach out to your audiences, give them updates as a daily news feed or even go on LIVE sessions and engage with online audiences from around the globe. With endless features on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook where you can share stories, news, videos, photos and posts the possibilities are infinite. Sharing of images is one key differentiator of diverse online platforms and their representations. I have a very intimate relationship with the people I engage with on Facebook and thus post many photographs of me on holidays, family functions and more personal content on it. Whereas on Instagram I want to look like an aesthetic and professional digital media content creator and photographer hence I usually only post pictures that go with that online identity I have created on Instagram which is of a photographic storyteller.
The good thing about your online identity is that it is not a singular form but a collection of all your ideas, content and engagement from all your platforms. There are no rules here! You can mix and match different vehicles to create a meaningful cocktail of online content and identities that suits your needs and caters to your preferences.
I started up this blog with that perspective in my mind and got many internships in my home country because my blog was not only engaging but had a mix of all my social media pages which created an online presence which was impressive. Often this online presence can be used as an advantage to get job opportunities, recognition, knowledge and even to socialise and participate in not only technology and digital media but social events and matters all around the globe. Your online identity reflects your real persona thus managing it effectively is important. The key to this endless online world is in your hands; it is all about how you unfold your own story on each platform to create an online identity that is unique and represents all things related to you.
Explore, Create and Motivate!
- Srivastava, D.K. , Roychoudhury, B. , Samalia, H.V. 2018, ‘Importance of User’s Profile Attributes in Identity Matching Across Multiple Online Social Networking Sites’, 2018-8th International Conference on Cloud Computing, Data Science & Engineering Confluence, vol. 8
- Aresta, M., Pedro, L., Santos, C. & Moreira, A, 2015, ‘ Portraying the self in online contexts: context-driven and user-driven online identity profiles’, Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 10 , no. 1 , pp. 70-85.
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