Monday, February 21, 2011

Jenny Practicum Post #3 - Identity on Social Networks

I will be presenting on social networks tomorrow, and for my questions I have been thinking a lot about identity online. I went back to re-read Nancy Baym's "Identity" article today, and noticed she said that on the social network, she uses the identity "Popgurl" in an effort to separate her activity on from her professional work online. One of the social networks that I have been exploring for my Practicum just so happens to be I chose to use my real identity, and being a new user to the site I didn't realize that few people actually use their real name and picture. I also noticed that most of the social networking sites I use encourage users to link their sites to other social networking sites that the user may utilize. This makes me wonder what implications linking would have on the identity you choose to portray. Would your identity on a professional networking site such as LinkedIn be the same as on a friend-locator site such as Zoosk? These are the questions I will pose tomorrow:

“Many of these social networking sites ask you to link to your other social networking sites. How would linking your sites effect the way you establish your identity online? If you choose to connect your sites do you need to make sure you keep a consistent identity?”

“Do you all use your real identity on your social networks? If not, why?”


  1. I definitely use my real identity on social networking sites.. I wouldn't consider myself networking if I was pretending to be someone I'm not, that's what virtual worlds are for right?

    I'd imagine that the way you presented yourself on Zoosk would be pretty different than the way you would on LinkedIn. I can't imagine trying to keep up with so many social networks as Facebook is already such a hassle. If a person is encouraged to link multiple social networks that don't all match how much information will be widely public and widely disconnected from who you are. A lot of social network sites cache your information and when you google yourself it comes up in the feed.

    I recently googled my name because I was looking ahead on the syllabus and saw that was one of our future blog posts.. something I had posted on a friends status update had been cached in the search results.. talk about weird. (This was over a month ago).

    I hope your presentation went well today! I'm sorry I missed it.

  2. I think that the opportunity to have all of the social networking sites link together is a huge tool for those that are truly engaged in social networking. I for one, though do not know if I would use the linking of all of my social networking sites if I used more than one (which I don't). Hypothetically, I think that different social networking sites are used for different reasons be it either to make friends, to find dates, to find jobs, etc. For this reason, an identity that you create on one site may completely backfire on another site. If i were using LinkedIn professionally, I don't think I would want to have a link to my Facebook which I use completely unprofessionally. It seems like in order to have your social networking sites linked together in a way that does is not contradictory, the identity you take on should probably be pretty consistent throughout.

  3. I would say I do use my real identity on all social networking sites, but I probably use different aspects of my real identity on them separately. For example: on Facebook I use my personal identity - one that I don't mind that friends and family know about, but maybe wouldn't want my employers to know about. This is why I also have a LinkedIn account which has my resume and work experience.

    I'm assuming that this is the normal way of portraying yourself online - correct, but different for different sites. I want to create my own website where I can basically have a professional and a personal side to it that would be totally "me".

  4. I think different Social networking sites show different sides of you. For example, My Linkedin page is all about my experience that will help me further my career in the real world. My facebook page, however, shows my fun personalitiy and more of my interests. When people have Twitter pages, it shows their creative side. Linking these sites together help to show how versitile people are and I think they are a good idea, however some people need to be careful because Facebook pages can get you in trouble. You may have an impressive Linkedin page, but if your facebook page has some innapproprate information, Linking the pages may not be a good idea.

  5. Erin,
    I entirely agree with you. I am a member of the student organization Association for Women in Communications on campus, and we recently just had a speaker come in that talked about this topic. She was specifically talking about whether or not it was a good idea to link your Twitter and LinkedIn. She advised that if you use Twitter in a professional manner, then you definitely should link it to your LinkedIn profile. This will show future employers that you are tech-savvy and capable of using social media in a professional manner. However, if you use Twitter to tell people what you are having for lunch and how much you drank the past weekend, you should definitely not link the two. No matter how professional your LinkedIn is, an employer will not be impressed to read about your sub sandwich and coffee date.