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Would it be considered overkill if you discovered someone had multiple online identities, one which they were using exclusively for work, and the other which was for their personal life?

closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, Dukeling, IDrinkandIKnowThings, motosubatsu, sf02 Feb 5 at 15:53

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Please clarify (possibly with examples) what you mean with "online identities". Having a professional Facebook and a personal one is common practice for folks who have to use facebook for work activities. Also depending on your country, you might want to use a pseudonym to publish political posts rather than a profile with your real name and the company you work for. – Mefitico Feb 1 at 18:31
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    I have multiple online profiles... using this fake name right now. – Kilisi Feb 1 at 18:40
  • :| I'm not - Though I used to, and still do for gaming. Different profiles for work and private life as well. Keeping it separate gives less trouble untangling later. – rkeet Feb 1 at 19:14
  • btw @worker - if you clean up this question a bit, ie, more stack-exchangy, it's wouldn't be a bad question. Have a read of How to Ask – rkeet Feb 1 at 19:19
  • @rkeet I tried, he rolled it back, so.,,, – Richard U Feb 1 at 20:29
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Yes and there's a variety of good reasons why. Separating work and personal can keep employers from snooping. So keeping the private sector out of your personal life is a good thing. You work isn't you. You have your own identity, your own world view will and may conflict with an employer's idea of what a "good employee" is. The vast majority will check.

So, keep your LinkedIn soulless and empty. Just put anything work related there. Make sure it's positive and never negative. Make it seem like you're the most interested and diligent worker you can be. Never get personal, never get political, never have a preference. Always talk to anyone with respect, even if people are outright abusive to your comments.

Your personal account, make sure it's private. Only ever have real friends on there (IE people you've actually met in person and trust) and then express yourself as however you desire.

The Truth here is private companies want drones, not individuals. Be "squeaky clean" and you'll be good to go.

To be totally safe though, just have one social profile on LinkedIn and ignore the rest. The reality is any social media profile will be used to judge you. The less of an online presence you have the safer you are in terms of employment.

  • No, private companies want to avoid boycotts, liability, and twitter campaigns, which is why social media policies at some major companies are getting stricter and stricter. Your anti-business screed is not helpful and doesn't answer the question. – Richard U Feb 1 at 19:46
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    @RichardU My anti business screed doesn't, but my sources do. – ShinEmperor Feb 1 at 20:07
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Given this day and age, where twitterstorms and outrage mobs can form in an instant, I would consider this prudent action.

You don't want your work life and your online life to collide EVER

Some companies have it expressly written in their policies that if you are involved in a news story that could affect them, you will be terminated, period. No appeal, no defense. I know people who have deleted their social media accounts to work for these companies.

More and more companies are formulating very strict social media policies due to the fact that individuals are being doxed, and their companies being targeted for boycotts. Keep them separate, stay out of trouble.

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    -1 the whole Orwellian "Two Minutes of Hate" is a little dramatic and over the top. It also implies that people aren't justified in their response to different things. Without any context, it's just a blanket "Twitter outrage is bad" which is injecting some serious bias without any evidence to support the position. – ShinEmperor Feb 1 at 18:45
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    The post had no supporting links or data. It simply pointed to a wiki and said "everyone hates". To me, that's not a useful answer. Also, calling out people who want anonymity, to some how make some sort of juvenile point is completely against the spirit of stack exchange and the wiki style content that is here. So no, I won't bend to you own little personal two minutes of hate, I'd rather just honor the platform and give responses that are informed and presented well. – ShinEmperor Feb 1 at 18:59
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It really depends on what you're up to. If it's a bit unsavoury sometimes then perhaps hide behind another identity. But if you have nothing to hide then it's fine to just have one. Or just have one for all your professional stuff and one for personal. I just use one most of the time.

My wif has all my social media passwords and cellphone pin because I'm not up to anything dodgy, even a couple of my staff have my facebook and cellphone credentials.

The exception is I have a profile and email just for signing up for online things (like this site) because it quickly attracts a lot of spam and I don't care about it much.

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I guess what you're asking is if it is a bad thing that multiple profiles can be correlated back to a single person and one of those profiles is used at the person's employment?

I say it is a bad thing if someone can trace profiles back to a user. If you can do it, then anyone else can. If one of those profiles turn out to have controversial material in it, and the company can be found, then it may not end nicely for said employee. Companies do not wish to be associated with controversial material regardless of sides.

With that said, yes you should be proactive in protecting your profiles from being traced or correlated especially if those materials can be traced to your employer. You should automatically make profiles private and only available to friends. You should be monitoring who you are friends with and who may be viewing your profiles. You should block anyone who you do not know or for seemingly no reason wants to be friends with you to view your profile. You should filter who you are associated with and remove them if they post anything controversial or strange.