Creating a Digital Identity and Presence

My overall goal and purpose for cultivating my digital presence and identity is to adopt a mindful approach in increasing my social network awareness and usage. In this way, I hope to  be an active contributor and mindful of how I am contributing to create an inclusive and engaging environment. Being intentional is a key approach in this process. Knowing that I am cautious to draw attention to my social presence on the web, I want to identify social media tools/platforms which will enable me to actively engage in an environment in which I feel relatively safe.

Jaigris Hodson, in her presentation for the MALAT 2018 Virtual Symposium on “Mindful” social media engagement in an age of Cambridge Analytica, recommends a mindful approach in using platforms and awareness of our digital footprint.  Currently, I am subscribed to two social networking media platforms. One is for professional reasons and the second is personal, however my activity has been dormant on the personal one and with limited activity on the professional network. Before engaging in other platforms, and to thoughtfully increase my activity on the current ones, I would like to increase my familiarity with LinkedIn, and explore using Twitter for educational purposes.

At best, my digital identity has been as a visitor, which as White & LeCornu (2011) point out is more of a user as opposed to an active participant in an online community. This status has enabled me to be cautious about how I engage online and has helped me to avoid managing too many digital identities. However, as I transition my professional practice and identity to a more visible online presence, I am more dependent upon expanding my network and connections globally. This transition necessitates movement along the digital presence continuum to more of a resident status which requires active engagement in a digital space, leaving behind a digital footprint (White & LeCornu, 2011).

To increase my understanding of LinkedIn, Twitter and other related digital social medias and apps, I would like to develop my usage through the application of 5 social media literacies as described by Rheingold (2010): “attention, participation, collaboration, network awareness, and critical consumption” (p.16). Actively engaging all 5 components together is the targeted goal in working toward digital fluency (Rheingold, 2010). I want to give myself time to better explore these platforms thinking about the professional presence I create, and how this can be a positive contribution rather than engaging just to create visibility.

Most importantly, to measure success in developing my digital identity and presence on my chosen social network platforms, my frequency in usage will increase. Since I am not a twitter user, measurement of my progress will first start with setting up an account and following RRU SET related posts. Additionally, I would like to post contributions that are meaningful, but this will require building a level of comfort and familiarity with my audience’s interests.

References:

Hodson, J. (April 16, 2018). “Mindful” social media engagement in an age of Cambridge Analytics. RRU MALAT Virtual Symposium 2018.

White, D. S., & LeCornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagementFirst Monday, 16(9).

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literaciesEducause Review45(5), 14.

Mapping your Social Network

Using an automated software such as Socilab.com to map my LinkedIn social network provided some interesting insights. To help analyze my map, I consulted a few sites, one of them was Ryze, which highlights areas to focus on and action steps in improving your network.

My own map shows 3 distinct groups, or “macro-groups” circled in dark ink. The first two groups are more closely related as they are connections from my former workplace in which there was overlap with programs and community relationships. The third group has evolved most recently and is connected through one node (or person) to my former work. The outliers represent opportunities in which I can better develop and identify shared interests to develop my professional network.

Having worked in a very large institution previously, my professional network developed, as a result of my work on committees, institutional events, and working relationships – most of which was face-to-face. Since transitioning to a new but related field of work, I am experiencing a change in my social interactions which have moved to a digital space. Learning how to cultivate these connections online is an area I am curious to learn more about!