Digital vs. Online

Over the course of the past few months since I began this blog I’ve been learning so much! My perspective of blogging has definitely shifted and has come to a point where I believe that at times a blogger is blogging to teach others what they, themselves, are trying to learn. Now I’m no expert on tech or life, but I am becoming an expert on learning and sharing what I learn ๐Ÿ™‚ Case in point, I’ve learned that there is a difference between digital and online identities.

How many knew there was a difference? Go ahead and raise your hands…Or if you want to feel smart raise your hand anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

Wellย  I thought, that they were interchangeable. However, there is a difference! But if you thought the way I did, then be comforted, because we are not alone! A majority of people use them interchangeably when in fact they are different.

It all triggered when I got my program review back from NASPA for the Annual Conference. Now, I didn’t get accepted, but it was totally worth it cause in the long run I learned something ๐Ÿ™‚ The reviewer made a comment that they did not know what digital identity was, but if I could develop my program further, next year would be a great year to resubmit. Now what triggered my lesson was that the individual had never heard of digital identity before. Now, having a low sense of self confidence, I panicked and thought I might have created a term that didn’t make sense, so I Googled “digital identity definition” and hence my lesson about the differences in digital identity and online identity.


Digital identities are the identities we create for our online presence. Digital identities can be anything from a username, password, social security number, twitter handle; its the data we use to establish ourselves in the digital world. Our online identities are the personas and characters that we create using digital identities in order toย  reflect who we are, be it via avatars or profiles.



@bdproffer = digital identity

social media guru, student affairs professional = online identity


briandavidmichaelproffer = digital identity

Kappa Sigma, LGBT advocate = online identity

Kinda cool right? ๐Ÿ™‚

So, if you hear people using the two interchangeably, you can educate them on the difference now ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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