The lure of multiple identities
I was talking yesterday about the relationship between our online and offline selves, and the danger of the one overriding the other. When our offline self becomes dominated, or driven by our online activities, we need to pause and reflect. Not only that, but the Christian faith calls for integrity in all things, so that we are the same person wherever our voice is heard or our words are read.
It has recently come to light that the Press Complaints Commission is to start regulating Twitter feeds from newspapers. Those of us who treat Twitter as a serious medium should be pleased by this. However, the problem comes with the greyer area of journalists’ own Twitter feeds. At what point does a journalist’s own Twitter feed cease to speak for their newspaper? Of course the simple solution is to have multiple Twitter accounts, with a clear and labelled distinction between professional and private accounts. This is easy to do, but is it wise?
Since all my online material is accessible to anybody, there are certain things I should not write as a Church Minister. The simple solution is to create an account under another name and carry on regardless. However, in truth the things I should not write as a Christian minister I probably should not write as a Christian – so I prefer to stick to my own identity and judge my content accordingly.
If we encourage journalists (or ministers for that matter) to fragment their identity in order to protect themselves, don’t we chip away at the very qualities which make them good at their jobs?