Reading about White’s continuum of “Visitors” and “Residents” (White, 2011), in addition to mapping my online engagement, made me further reflect about my current practices of digital presence and online social interactions with others. It was evident that as Visitor, I have been intentionally withholding myself from overly exposing my thoughts and limiting my digital social interactions. With common reasons being privacy (White, 2011) and fear (Schryver, n.d.) of others forming impressions as a result of posting content related to personal or professional activities. This is particularly true with Facebook. Walther (2009) referred to a recent research which found that we tend to view information that we hear about someone second-hand as more reliable because we expect people to present themselves in an overly positive manner. In addition, Shryer’s Facebook sharing practices didn’t seem authentic either:

“In general, I tend to use Facebook in a few circumscribed ways: to promote myself  (“check out my latest blog post!”), and to inform or entertain, preferably in a self- aggrandizing way that establishes myself as an Intelligent/Witty/Irreverent Person.  And so amusing Web videos get posted, as do perceptive articles and infographics, not to mention pop-culture ephemera that solidifies my reputation as a playful (but with an edge!) raconteur” (Schryver, n.d.)

So, the question is: How do I cultivate a digital presence that is authentic, meaningful and enhances my personal brand? After all, everything we post online is traceable and can be used against us (Schryver, n.d.).

Goal and purpose

Per Madden and Smith (2010), online reputation management is an essential component of digital identity and online participation because what someone says about himself or herself, and what others say, shows up in his or her online digital footprint. Although my LinkedIn digital presence is pretty solid thanks to the guidance I received from my former career coach, my goal would be to increase my digital footprint using LinkedIn and possibly other online platforms, while being intentional with what I post and share. As well, although it may not sound too polite, I would clean up my LinkedIn contact list to only include contacts that I have personally met or have had interactions with, rather than accepting random invitations.

Process

As a first step, I would increase my digital literacy through the knowledge I would acquire in the MALAT program. Reviewing and analyzing this week’s readings helped me understand and appreciate the importance of having and cultivating a digital identity, being aware of what digital participation means as well as reading about my cohort’s thoughts on the topic.

Second, by establishing and nurturing my own MALAT blog I would contribute to the knowledge, stories and experiences I have had during my studies with my peers and faculty. After the end of my studies, I will assess whether or not I would want to make my blog public and therefore own a public digital space.

Measures of success, bridging knowledge gaps

In order to quantify results and measure success, I would consider evaluating my knowledge as per Kirkpatrick’s second level of learning evaluation (pre and post learning evaluation), meaning that I would have developed a deeper understanding, increased comfort level with digital contributions, new perspectives and increased expertise (Luehmann, 2008).

 

References

Peters, T. (1997). The Brand Called You. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/28905/brand-called-you.

Luehmann, A. L. (2008). Using blogging in support of teacher professional identity development: A case study. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17, 287-337. 

Walther, J. B., Van Der Heide, B., Hamel, L. M., et al. (2009). Self-generated versus other-generated statements and impressions in computer-mediated communication: A test of the warranting theory using Facebook. Communication Research, 36, 229-252.

Schryver, K. (n.d.). Who Are You Online? Considering Issues of Web Identity – The New York Times. Retrieved from https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/guest-post-who-are-you-online-considering-issues-of-web-identity/?_r=0

White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2009). Visitors and Residents : A new typology for online engagement | White | First Monday. Barcelona, pp. 1–10. https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171

Madden, M., & Smith, A. (2010). Reputation management and social media: How people monitor their identity and search for others online. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/05/26/ reputation-management-and-social-media/