What Is Online Identity Management?

Virginia Franco

Online identity management is the process of shaping and guarding one's cyber footprint or online persona. While many Internet users have no need to manage their online presence or engage in virtual personal reputation management, many hold positions that require them to market their name online in a professional capacity or at the very least make information available for others to peruse in cyberspace. For many, online identity management offers the opportunity to separate personal from professional identities via the creation of multiple profiles. Efforts toward online image management allow individuals to highlight subject matter expertise, brand-related achievements, and generate a positive buzz and impress others.

Avatars may be used to create an online persona.
Avatars may be used to create an online persona.

Those interested in this type of identity management should consider taking a number of active steps to create or enhance their virtual reputation, regardless of whether it is personal or professional. Failure to take any measures can mean the difference between flourishing and floundering online. Many people create blogs or websites devoted to their purpose or brand. Social networking websites offer another way increase online exposure by creating profiles and pages devoted to the brand and provide another opportunity for adding links to additional information that can serve to educate readers.

Those who are concerned about their online reputation should be careful that they only share appropriate images.
Those who are concerned about their online reputation should be careful that they only share appropriate images.

Many people go a step further and make a point of following others in a similar industry and cross-referencing their information in an effort to "spread the word." Logos and taglines attached to any e-mail or instant message communications are additional ways to advertise a personal brand online and help vital details reach a target audience. Last but not least, free article publisher websites offer a cost-effective way to post articles containing information that will help promote a brand. Authors that post more frequently are more likely to be more frequently read or followed. As an added bonus, these sites often provide a section for information about the author which offers further opportunity for online identity management and brand growth.

There are few techniques to employ in order to keep personal and professional identities separate. Online identity management can be facilitated by using a real name for professional online ventures and nicknames for those that are purely personal in nature. It is also important to select an avatar or small thumbnail-sized picture to use that reflects either a personal or professional status. Use of these pictures helps online viewers to put a face with a name, which can help enhance an online reputation.

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Discussion Comments


I don't see a problem with people using their real names or name of their companies, websites or brands on social networking sites. As the article said, this is a great way to market a name and all the biggest brands do this nowadays. This is the best way to reach out to people and share information.

I don't even see a problem with people using their real names on forums. I mean, it's not a crime to have a hobby right? So why can't people use their real names on blogs and forums about food, gardening or films? I think it's harmless.


@discographer-- I completely agree with you. We all need to do some online identity management.

Does anyone remember that news article about a guy who got sacked because he tweeted about how much he hates his job? That was a prime example of how our online activity is important and leaves a big impression!


There is no doubt that potential employers search for applicants names online to see the kind of online activity the person has. We all participate in various social networking sites and forums. But it's important to have separate identities for such sites that can not be linked to our real name and identity.

Some of us do use our real names for social networking, but in those cases, we should not share things that we wouldn't want a potential employer to see. Because everyone knows that when something is online, it's fair game and any one can technically access it and see it.

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