The Clark Kent’s of the Internet World

“In the olden times, privacy was good. Today people want to share” (Mark Zuckerberg, 2010). But, is sharing our entire thought stream online ever really a good idea?  Justine Sacco would probably argue, no. In 2013 after tweeting a racially insensitive message to her mere 170 followers, she boarded a plane to South Africa. 11 hours later she turned on her phone to find her tweet had gone viral and her life lay in ruins. Due to the increase in cases like Sacco’s, many individuals have started to divide their once unified online identity into different profiles. Below I will explore the two main reasons people have started to do this:

The Professional Reason

With 55% of recruitment teams now checking future employees Facebook account, and 47% checking Twitter, it is no wonder that people are now going above and beyond to protect their privacy online (AdWeek, 2015). To achieve an entirely separate work based identity online, more and more people are turning to professional social networking sites like LinkedIn and VisualCV (Peter Bowes, 2013). But is this method of splitting yourself into two online identities sustainable? I explore the pros and cons below:


(Fairey, 2018) Created using PiktoChart

The Personal Reason

On a personal level, someone may choose to have multiple accounts on one social media to allow themselves to express different sides of their personality freely.  Now more than ever people are becoming much more opinionated on their social platforms, so some see having multiple online identities as a way to protect themselves in the real world (Costa and Torres 2011). Below I have put together a video of case studies where people have decided to have more than one personal social media:

(Fairey, 2018) Created using


Having a mixture of both personal and professional identities, some private and some public, is the optimum way of portraying yourself online for both security and professional purposes. If Mark Zukerberg, the unofficial King of all things anti-privacy, thinks that adding a multiple account toggle is a worthwhile feature then may be it’s time you consider splitting your online identity in two.

Word Count: 303



8 thoughts on “The Clark Kent’s of the Internet World”

  1. Hi Joanna,

    I really liked your post, the video was a great example and found the comparison to Clark Kent humorous!

    I found it interesting that you used Justine Sacco as an example of why we should separate our profiles. Do you not agree that she is probably a better example of not posting online, or better yet not holding, racist views? Because if we suggest that she is an example of the benefit’s of having private accounts, we essentially endorse posting racist views in private? Or do you rather feel that this is a freedom of speech issue?

    Also, I’m interested in how you personally operate your online personality? Do you manage to operate with the separation suggested by van Dijck? If so, how have you found the experience?


    Van Dijck, J., ‘‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn’“>van Dijck


    1. Hi Tom,

      Thanks for reading! I 100% agree with you that Justine Sacco should not have written what she did online however, I think I was using her as an extreme example of what could happen if you did posted something you may later regret online. Even if you just regularly post drunken photos of yourself and friends on your non-anonymous socials, it could lead to future employers think you’re not suitable for the role you’re interviewing for.

      Personally, I only operate with a single identity online but then I view myself to be relatively uninteresting on social media haha. I don’t often post anything but pictures with friends and definitely do not share any social or political views online. I read an article recently that suggests that keeping my socials accessible like this through the use of a single identity may be a good thing for future employability. It talks about how employers are turning to peoples socials to see if a person would be a good fit for their company culture.




      1. Yes, I agree with you on Sacco – online posts with their permanence don’t allow for mistakes to be brushed over like they may have been in the past.

        Thanks for the link. It was an interesting read and it made me consider that employers would be likely put off by my use of profanity on social media – so I might consider separating that profile from ‘me’ in the future. Thanks for the great tip!


  2. Hi Joanna,

    Great post, really enjoyed reading it and the infographic has great content on it.

    The one thing you mentioned I am surprised about is the Mark Zuckerberg mentioning a multiple accounts might be beneficial after previously having such a strong stance against it. In 2010, he stated that he feels “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity” as well “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly”. (
    Do you think this change is purely down to the release of data to Cambridge Analytica or do you think this change would have come about anyway?

    Having read your comments above, you operate with a single identity online, would you agree that having more than one identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity or not?

    Look forward to hearing your replies
    Will Jones


    1. Hi Will,

      Thanks for reading! I think that Mark Zuckerberg’s change of heart could definitely have something to do with the release of data. I imagine he wants to appear “on the people’s side” in terms of the violation of trust that has happened so it would seem plausible that he would be on board with any way that a person could protect themselves online.

      In regards to your question about my use of a single identity, I definitely do feel that using multiple accounts does reduce online integrity but I think it’s mainly down to my laziness to update more than one social network at a time that I do this!




      1. Hi Joana,

        Thank for your reply.

        I completely agree with you that he is trying to gain peoples trust again, but I am surprised by his complete change of stance on the matter. With such a large leak of data, I feel it has made everyone rethink about how much information they display to others and make them think about creating multiple identities.

        Thank again for replying,


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