Thing 13 : Online identity

As information professionals we need to understand the risks of the online environment, including knowing how to manage our own online identities (professional and personal), and also be able to advise our clients and communities on how to protect their own privacy online.  Our focus in this thing is mobile technology and the particular issues that relate to using tablets and smartphones and apps.

Usually once you log into an app, access is continuous on your device unless you log out each time you use it.  It’s also common to log into an app using one of your existing identities (eg. Facebook, Google account or Twitter).  Take a minute to check if you have your device password protected in case someone else tries to use it and which third party apps currently have access to your information. [see Facebook app settingsGoogle account settings and Twitter settings and information on revoking access to third party apps ]


Who are you online?  

  • Have you considered that your identity online is actually a spectrum ranging from anonymous > pseudonymous (across multiple sites) > self-asserted > socially validated (by friends and followers) > officially verified?  [see the excellent post from @identitywoman for definitions]
  • Using a pseudonym or anonymous identity online may breach the terms of service of some social media channels (eg. Google+ real names policy  and Facebook identity for page administrators)
  • LinkedIn is a popular app for professional connections see Jan and Mylee  as examples [Android and iOS apps available ]
  • If you manage a page for your library or an organisation you might find the Facebook Pages Manager app useful
  • Facebook apps are available for both Android – Facebook  and iPhone – Facebook


What information is being collected while you’re online?

  • Many apps collect information from users and there should be a privacy policy or terms and conditions statement available.  Often these statements are on an associated website (eg. Medicare App  )
  • What information do you share when you search and interact online?  Phil Bradley gives a good overview of the issues and some alternative tools.
  • Protecting Your Privacy – A Resource Guide also lists alternative tools


  • Do you keep your personal and professional identities online completely separate?
  • Do you deliberately manage your personal brand / professional identity?
  • If a prospective employer asked you to demonstrate your skills and experience in using social media could you point to professional presences online?
  • Do you draw your online identities or the multiple identities of your organisation together via a blog / website or an aggregating tool like Rebelmouse , Vizify  or the Slideshare network channels of organisations like United Nations DESA ?
  • Can your clients log into your library website or apps using their online identities?  (eg. Facebook or Twitter login to LibraryThing for Libraries to add reviews to the catalogue).
  • Does your library privacy statement include information about what personal information is collected by apps in use to deliver library services?

6 Comments on “Thing 13 : Online identity

  1. I keep my personal and professional identities separate and until now I haven’t really considered deliberately managing my online identity. I have mostly tried to keep my identity private so I could really only show people that I know how to use social media. I have now started to create an online identity that is more visible but also limited.

    Our organisation has drawn everything together on our website. There customers find our blog, events, RSS feeds, catalogues, Facebook and twitter. They can login to Facebook and Twitter from our website using heir own identities.

    Our Council has an 85 page policy on privacy and there is a general statement in the customer service charter about us respecting customers privacy. I haven’t seen anything written but I am aware that privacy in regards to digital resources is taken very seriously. We have just started to make online mags available via Zinio and privacy has been an important part of its implementation.

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Jan Holmquist | Mylee Joseph | Kathryn Barwick 2013