Identity Management and Social Media
Social media has diversified the avenues of social interaction, which, in turn, aids in the development and management of the personal identity. The personal identity is the result of the sum-total of the life experience of an individual. This experience includes socialization with other individuals and acquisition of norms and values from social institutions; for instance, family, religion, culture, workplace, etc. Now, the Internet has contributed a great deal in making this process rapid and easily accessible to the majority of the inhabitants of the world. This, of course, comes with consequences: where such a virtual environment promotes the evolution of personal identity, it also has its drawbacks.
Social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, allow their users to get in touch with long lost school friends and acquaintances. Further, social media also allows individuals to share their thoughts and opinions with millions of other users; one can also meet like-minded individuals residing anywhere in the world. In addition to that, individuals can create their professional identities in order to make professional contacts who might help them in their careers. Moreover, social media allows one to promote their company or brand online, generate leads and bag-in more clients.
However, social media also has its drawbacks. Consider, for instance, the argument that there is potential risk of information theft on social media, in addition to fraudulent activities against individuals. This includes a person’s contact information, bank account numbers, social security number, and other confidential information. Where social media has granted people the liberty to express their freedom of speech on the discussion forums or blogs, this very privilege has also made them susceptible to potential threats from power corridors whose interests get undermined by the exercise of this individual freedom. For instance, a journalist or blogger may write against terrorism or state-sponsored terrorism and by doing so, may receive threats from the concerned quarters.
It is a wise policy to create separate social media accounts for personal and professional use, in order to reduce the chances of information theft or fraud. The users have the option to set privacy to all the confidential information in their accounts. All such sensitive information should be kept in the personal accounts. An individual should ensure that no sensitive information, which may be used to harm them, should be open to public in their professional accounts. This appears to be the only way to limit these drawbacks.