I have been reading (with great interest) the blog posts from the Five Weeks to a Social Library online course currently taking place. One of the participants, Alisia Wygant wrote a very interesting post this week called Work Social Life. In the post, she discusses the problem of having created an identity in Facebook while in college that may not really be the type of presence one would want in a professional capacity. Do those friends from college really belong in one’s professional network? Alisia cancelled her Facebook account, but ponders what would happen if she hadn’t: “. . . would I be forced to live an online double identity–ducking into virtual telephone booths and putting on my uniform?” This image of having to hide behind virtual walls when one has one virtual hat on in order to remain hidden from inappropriate friends in rather comical. Steve Lawson from See Also points out that “With blogs, it is easy enough to have more than one, and keep the siliness on LiveJournal or Vox or whatever, but a site like Facebook seems like it might be more problematic to maintain multiple personalities.” I have to agree.
I find it extremely difficult to maintain all of my online identities, accounts, spaces, etc. I have at least 6 email addresses. Although I don’t use them all, I do actively use 4 – and trying to remember which one I use for which purpose is maddening. I hate creating new accounts or logins – and have very mixed feelings about having signed up for Facebook. Keeping track of online relationships and/or friends must be even more difficult – especially if one has to compartmentalize. I’m not really the type to post material online that I would need to “hide” from people, but then again, I’m fairly new to all of this online identity stuff. I won’t really post anything that I am not comfortable with everyone I know seeing. However, I can see how this could get complicated and even messy for some.