Who Am I Today? The Problem of Multiple Online Identities

March 4, 2008 at 10:33 pm 1 comment

At a course I taught on Online Health Communities, one of my students described how he investigated and tracked down a person who had a dozen personas in the community he managed. MIT Technology Review reported how a social networking site, Moli, allows (and encourages) users to develop multiple profiles and control access to them. The issue here is that everyone has multiple facets and it is difficult to portray and maintain multiple personas online, whether for honest or fraudulent purposes. I may not want the readers of eLearn Magazine to know that my passion in life is swing dancing (oops!) or to package my consulting skills to fit a profile form. LinkedIn, for instance, only allows you to select one industry. I selected “e-learning”, but could have accurately chosen “higher education” or “health, wellness, and fitness”. “Dance” isn’t even listed.


Entry filed under: e-learning, online health communities, usability, Web 2.0. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mike Gualtieri  |  March 5, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Even without the internet we have different “profiles” we present to the world depending upon the context of the situation. At a minimum we have a personal profile and a work profile. My public work profile says nothing about my passion for swing dancing either.


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Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa: lisa.gualtieri@tufts.edu


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