The identity we lead online compared to offline


The identity we show in real life can be quite different when placed into a completely different world. When one identity is shifted between the line of real or fake it makes people question why they choose an online life over the real one. The photos shown and the descriptions are to outline the impact of online and offline identities.

Source: Amira Gay, February 13th 2015,  “Your Online Identity,” CAS 283 Spring ’15 Sec 005, Blog, viewed 1st June 2016


The idea of Identity online is made up of many things and further areas to explore into. To many it seems like a vicious cycle that is far worse than the reality. To lead an online identity one must have access to a device that is connected to the internet in some way, then it must find a platform that must create your own account of yourself. Rob Cover states within his book of Digital Identities: Creating and Communicating the Online Self to talk about the different effects identity has within the online world. ‘The “real life”  versus “virtual self” dichotomy and, effectively, the reification of a “real” identity out of which the “virtual self” could be voluntarily created.’ (pg 10 – 11, Rob Cover)

Source: Jon Bailey, December 17th 2014,”A Moblie World is an Offline World (And What this Means for Your Apps),” Appcelerator Blog, viewed 1st June 2016 


Many Individuals choose to go offline due to the fact that they either to not trust online, do not accept it or even cannot comprehend the health facts that entail what may happen to them if they have it. Many academics state that by not choosing an online social life can lead to problems with communication with others but can also place stress and mental health issues upon one that may be facing isolation symptoms. While others believe it is an addiction and obsession to be connected to a device for long periods of time.

Source: Creative California, August 14th 2015, “Strength your brand identity in Social Media,”Blog, Online Marketing, viewed 2nd June 2016

Social Network

Ones identity online is represented depending upon the platform and network it is placed in. This correlates to how much the individual wants to reveal about their life through the use of information, pictures, videos and/or their opinions upon things. Two clear examples are Facebook and Instagram, Facebook being a place to reveal private information while Instagram places it in the format of pictures instead of information. Rob Cover classifies this as showing ‘identity expression.’ (pg 16, Rob Cover)

The action of performing an identity expression is spilt into two actions, one being finding friends and accepting them while the other is regulating your friends list while interacting with them online. ‘Both are performative acts of identification articulated through frameworks of relationality and belonging.’ (pg 16, Rob Cover)


Source: Author: Summit Salon Center, 12th October 2015, “Should I hire an outside marketing company to take care of my social media?”Estetica Magazine, viewed 2nd June 2016

Outside of Social Media

Social Media platforms were only made during the beginning of the 2000s, before then people actually rang others or went over their houses to see how they were going. With the use of technologies and the way in which society has taken social media it seems that you need to be on it in order to communicate with anyone. Ann Smarty states this to her blog that, ‘I hate being out in public and seeing people on their phones.’

The disadvantage of clinging to your phone, scrolling through newsfeeds and simply liking things for the sake of it seems to be all too common that normal talking face to face has become extinct. Ann Smarty identifies it all too well as ‘you get the feeling of being social without having to go out and socialize.’

Source:John Lineberger, 2nd September 2011,”Securing Gamer Identities,” Blog, Gemalto: security to be free, viewed 2nd June 2016

Gamers Identity

The idea of a person who plays a lot of games is classified within society as a gamer. The game that the gamer plays gives the capability to immerse themselves into it. (pg 117, Rob Cover) The connection between the gaming world and their identity is that it connects to the idea of Cyberspace and losing yourself to become another online. Rob Cover defines this notion as the real/virtual and real/digital divide. (pg 117, Rob Cover) This is backed up by his statement, ‘this notion of immersion is characterized by becoming (other), or by becoming that which the user has created as an articulation on-screen.’ (pg 117, Rob Cover)

The examples of games that have proven this notion are based off of first person shooter games that have a sole character that you can customise, create their background and even further alter their personalities.

Source: Daniel Ostrower, Daniel Ostrower Page, Wired: Innovation Insights, Blog, viewed 2nd June 2016

Reality vs Digital

The gaming world is just the same as that of social media where you need to own it or have it to be involved. This statement relates to games and consoles however some choose to go beyond the game and into reality with taking on the full form of the character. Within a journal article made by Nicolle Lamerichs she idealises that the way of cosplaying your characters out to conventions or parties is to show the growth within the dress up culture. She shows this by the oldest cosplay convention that dates back to the 1960s to 70s when Star Trek and Star Wars became quite famous and fans wanted to be them.

The explanation Nicolle Lamerichs places on cosplaying is, ‘to an outsider, fan costumes might suggest that fans want to look like, or momentarily be, the fictional characters they identify with.’

Source: No date, Habbo Hotel, Game, Sulake, viewed 1st June 2016

Virtual Reality

Within Cyberspace people are often seen as lifeless bodies when communicating through online social networks, games and other platforms. The idea of a body-less identity online has been seen as a separate reality developed just for ‘virtual reality.’ (pg 110, Rob Cover) When people have ‘adopted’ other behaviours to construct a different world to embark in this being found in chatrooms and games. (pg 110, Rob Cover) This also may include the life of a troll online that believes the barriers of the internet’s walls protects and gives them full capability to do what they want without boundaries or circumstances to follow.

Examples of such views can be seen from famous animated chat rooms such as Habbo Hotel while trolls can be viewed upon more social networking websites as YouTube or Facebook. However their identities are either shadowed or disguised most of the time by giving a different name, photo or description.

Source: Doug Bonderud, December 23rd 2013, “Internet Addiction Disorder: When Online is All the Time,” Bandwidth Place, viewed 2nd June 2016


The internet is still classified as something new with it came out just before the 2000s. This can also be said for the devices that come with it being new every year to keep up with the software and updates to improve it continuously. The need to have one and be on it is always placed on an individual’s mind as you see many with them such as Smartphones or Laptops. Though addiction has now been classified for individuals that constantly stay on their devices over a period of time.

The effects have been cased as a need to be online for a period of time to satisfy their needs. The desire to be online to search and scroll through the internet is always on their mind however this is the addiction growing within them that can affect their moods, family life and relationships. If you know of someone who faces these problems please click the link down below to find help.

Source: HRM ONLINE Author unknown, February 23rd 2013,”Diversity breeds good business,”Human Resources Media, viewed 2nd June 2016


While online is a completely different field to outside, the diversity of the people you interact with is quite larger. Rob Cover identifies the wrongful viewed opinion of online, ‘that all persons participate and are represented equally.’ (pg112, Rob Cover) The social setting of online have the capability for more discrimination to unfold over race, gender, religion, and personal disabilities. (pg 112, Rob Cover) The internet has become a place to release opinions and views upon their thoughts of things that happen whether that be truthful or not.

The value of one’s body is questioned when Rob Cover evaluates that due to their participation online within digital interaction and engagement that filters through to their self-esteem. (pg 113, Rob Cover) This is related to the view of a Troll seen online. They manipulate their virtual reality world into their own place to show their opinion on things that might not be true or unrealistic.

Source:  No date or Author,”Don’t fall victim to online vehicle fraud,”L&L Automotive,viewed 1st June 2016

Fear of Victimization

While being an online user of various accounts you are always attacked or victimized in some way or form depending upon the matter at hand. This can include such methods of bullying, harassment, and blaming. This connects to offline quite well because the fact of shaming people online can take two turns, whether they are attacked outside of the online resource or ignored entirely.

An example of this was a study of college students that were victimized and harassed online. They judged that the students believed that the society within offline would be just like that if outside, which Rob Cover identified the common mistake in his book about people’s opinions of the net.  The students would release private information without thinking of consequences if someone used it irresponsibly. The Study concluded that online and offline interaction within this area made people judge and ridicule the victims over pictures or relationships.


The idea I had from the beginning was to compare two things to one another that I was interested in. This being online and offline identities in which I went into more depth to show the effects it places on society, the person, and how it has grown within cultures. I wanted to compare all the information to see the pros and cons of both sides to understand it more myself.

The idea came from both weeks two and three, Looking at ourselves and looking at others. What we lead online is not always seen offline which I found interesting to talk about. We now live in a world centred on technology and the internet that seems to at times take over our lives. I wanted to place this opinion that there are pros and cons to both sides. This made me think when looking at photos because I believe looking at a photo will make you think about things more. I wanted to use my own photos but due to timing that I did not have I had to go for online sources.

I felt very comfortable about doing this area because I am a gamer and I am also a person that owns a lot of devices around my home that made me question the idea one has online compared to offline. I am a person that always turns on their phone first before saying, ‘good morning,’ to my boyfriend when I wake up. However what made me question the offline part was that one of my friends did not use social media that often or found it really weird to use. I found this an interesting thing because when I grew up within the time that the first computer came out everything I picked up on was easy while it seemed the older generations had to question.

When I began with the online side it made me all too familiar with the terms and ways to adapt to the internet. I felt my source was really good because it looked into all the different areas to identify one’s self within the online world not just through social media. This was my first problem that identity online through many articles seemed to solely connect to social media networks rather than other forms. I found my best advantage to fix this problem was to look into other areas rather than just social media.

The major problem I faced though was that sources for my offline side to compare from online seemed very slim as I could not find a full source that had all the information packed into it. So I had to search through various articles and sources that seemed to fit the picture to contrast the online side. The other bad news was that there weren’t that many sources to back up the offline side which proved my ideas a bit seemed in which I fixed by looking into objects more closely.


Author: Rob Cover, 16th October 2015, The University of Western Australia, ‘Digital Identities: Creating and Communicating the Online Self,’ Ebook- Science Direct, viewed 2nd May 2016

Unity Point Health Illinois Institute of Addiction recovery, web page, viewed 1st June 2016

Alexis Kennedy and Melanie A. Taylor, 2010, Volume 7 No.1, Paper, “Online Harassment and Victimization of College Students,” viewed 1st June 2016

Ann Smarty, date published cannot find, “Social media and society the good, the bad and the ugly,”, blog, viewed 30th May 2016

Nicolle Lamerichs, 2011, “Stranger than fiction: Fan identity in cosplay,” vol 7 No.7. Transformative works and cultures, journal article, viewed 1st June 2016