04 January 2011

Multiple Identities and Social Media

How do you maintain internal identity integrity when expressing yourself in both the external and online worlds?


Do you keep a personal, private journal of your memories, thoughts, beliefs and hopes for the future?


Here are a few links you might like to explore:


Social media today - community, identity and interaction

Online insider - multiple identities

Nerdy geeks - infograph of multiple identities

The virtual explorer - Identity, social media and business - multiple personas for a web 2.0 world

All things digital - Network effect - The social web's big new theme for 2011 - multiple identities for everyone

Digital we - a (multiple) identity crisis


My identity here as "Via the blogger" reveals things about the "real" me that I would not present on a website I publish under my "real" name.  The purpose of the revelations is compatible with the purpose of the four blogs I write as "Via", namely to express important aspects of myself that cannot be appropriately expressed elsewhere online

I express my interest in the topic of identity in this blog called By Any Other Name, because the external, social world is frequently incompatible with the "real" me.  I have interests and values and language skills that are not the same as those of most of the people with whom I interact in my usual, daily life.  I reveal aspects of my background in most of my "Via" blogs, though not my real name or my real Australian location.

Away from the online world, I write my "memoirs", a personal, private account of my life, which I record in a different computer than the one I use here.  My memoirs are tools for reflecting on the past, present and future, and especially help me to define goals for future writing projects.

There are several other "non-professional" online identities I have begun to use recently because I have started to develop an interest in writing fiction.  I have been developing characters through the use of social media and have been fascinated by the way that people engage with those "unreal" characters.

How do you engage with characters in works of fiction?  Is it a similar experience to engaging with social media?

Perhaps it is worth remembering here that the "celebrity" culture that has been part of the mass media for some time now, is not about "real" people but about the presentation of "marketable" identities.

Here are some Wikipedia articles you may find interesting.


Entertainment agencies - talent agents and booking agents
(it is also worthwhile to look at the history of individual agencies and their clients)

Advertising agencies

Sports agents

Modeling agencies

Literary agents

Talent manager

Entertainment promoter


Being "Via" helps me to integrate aspects of my social self into my mind, clarifying my sense of self, identity and integrity, rather than diminishing or confusing them.  My multiple online identities may confuse other people, but perhaps that is because they fail distinguish between the real, the superficial and the fictional.

And one other point to make here, and an important one, relates to the use of time.  Having multiple online identities, or even one online identity, can use up many hours each week in a pointless manner.  Alternatively, that time can be used in a more productive and enjoyable way, so that the "real" social world is not neglected but rather enhanced.

You might like to try this for yourself, by giving the contents of this blog - and especially the links from it - the focus of your attention for about an hour a day each week.  You may find that your own sense of identity changes in some way if you do.

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