The following video explains multiple online identities in a nutshell.
Source from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umd3RBk-aIU
(Credits to: Sophie Pitman 2015, October 23)
As stated from the video above, multiple online identities leads to anonymity. A user may have different persona and identities while engaging in online activities such as online banking, dating, gaming and job seeking. On the other hand, single online identity represent authenticity. Facebook in particular is a leading firm who is in support of authenticity over anonymity, through acts such as strict removals of fake and reported accounts and heavy investments on photo streaming.
In the context of marketing, for consumers to possess multiple online identities is a two sided coin which can potentially work to a firm’s advantage.
Source From: http://resources.uknowkids.com
Source From: http://nobullying.com/facts-about-cyber-bullying/
Source from : http://www.virtualteen.org/forums/
Cyber bullying and catfishing had been on the rise in recent years, which is the downside of having multiple identities in the aspect of community. Consumers had hence became more conscious of what they post online and the potential to explore in non-expressed needs is higher. Teenagers, for example would be more inclined to conduct research on sensitive topics in area such as puberty under an anonymous name in online forums. Marketers can bring this to their advantage by studying problems faced by these group of consumers and incorporate it into their market strategy.
Sourced from: http://musically.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/spotify-discover-tab.jpg
Single identity is more genuine and trustworthy which leads to effectiveness in area of data-mining. Spotify users were able to link their Facebook account for login purposes as part of their marketing strategies and have a better understanding of every individual music preferences. Users would be more inclined to upgrade to their premium plan as they could find an association with the kind of music under the discovery tab above.
On the other hand, by possessing multiple identities, integrity of data would prove to be a challenge for marketers in the area of data-mining as not everyone is genuine on the web these day. Let’s face it – majority would be guilty of displaying / providing information that is not a reflection of our actual self in the real world by being anonymous. Example: Brown might appear as a sporty person on a social dating website but in reality, he is an introvert, who hates sports and doing it to attract more female compatriots. It would be ineffective to send any sport related product advertisements to him via email!
Meghan Casserly (January 26 2011) Multiple Personalities and social media: The many faces of me.
Costa, C., & Torres, R. (2011). To Be or Not to Be, the Importance of Digital Identity in the Networked Society.
Emily van der Nagel & Jordan Frith ( March 2 2015) Anonymity, pseudonymous, and the agency of online identity: Examining the social practice of r/Gonewild
Aleks Krotoski ( April 19 2015) Online Identity: Is authenticity or anonymity more important?