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We need to distinguish between the technical and human elements of online identity. In this micro-course, we are more interested in the human side of online identity, but in part, this is determined by how technology automates the process of building your digital footprint.



Internet identity
Internet identity, also online identity or internet persona is a social identity that an Internet user establishes in online communities and websites. It can also be considered as an actively constructed presentation of oneself. Although some people choose to use their real names online, some Internet users prefer to be anonymous, identifying themselves by means of pseudonyms, which reveal varying amounts of personally identifiable information. An online identity may even be determined by a user’s relationship to a certain social group they are a part of online. Some can even be deceptive about their identity (Wikipedia:Online).
Digital identity
A digital identity is information on an entity used by computer systems to represent an external agent. That agent may be a person, organisation, application, or device. ISO/IEC 24760-1 defines identity as “set of attributes related to an entity” (Wikipedia: Online).



Read the following papers:

  1. An overview of identity[1]
  2. Who am I Online? Understanding the Meaning of Online Contexts for Identity Development[2].

Consider the following questions:

  1. How does your real-world identity differ from your online identity?
  2. What factors inhibit or support the sharing of information in building an online identity?
  3. What is the value of an online identity for tertiary learning?


  1. Internet Society. (2011). Understanding your online identity: An overview of identity. Retrieved from:
  2. Wängqvist, M. & Frisén, A. (2016). Adolescent Research Revue 1: 139. doi:10.1007/s40894-016-0025-0