Have you ever entered a new journey and thought you knew the expectation but when you finally were walking the path you thought, ‘this is not what I expected’? I have always known that my knowledge of social media was limited and to date, I accepted it and told myself that’s who I am and more importantly, who I wanted to be. On April 1, 2019 if you asked me to describe myself from a social media perspective, I would have said to you that I am a person who uses technology and social media to find information whether that information is about people, places or things. What I came to realize was that I am a visitor of technology. White and Le Cornu (2011) clearly defined, “Visitors understand the Web as akin to an untidy garden tool shed. They have defined a goal or task and go into the shed to select an appropriate tool which they use to attain their goal” (p.5). This example of going to the garden shed expresses that people who are visitors of technology seek information without leaving any footprints. They want to go to the Web, get their information and leave again. Perhaps, more importantly, they want to leave it the way they found it.
On May 1st, 2019, my goal is to cultivate my digital presence and identity through the construction and communication of expressing opinions and perhaps forming relationships as I become a resident of the Web (White and Le Cornu, 2011, p. 6). Ultimately, my goal is to have a strong digital identity. My new mantra is to “expand [my] thinking of [my] digital skills or information literacies to include social media literacies” (Rheingold, 2010, p.14). Expanding my thinking of social media literacies includes getting out of my own way. Many times, we put limitations on ourselves because we are not comfortable in an existing environment or we do not have the knowledge, skills or abilities in a specific domain. My goal is to obtain as much information as I can, apply my knowledge and reflect on my missed opportunities and achievements.
According to Levy (2019) she observed that “we don’t know what we don’t know” (24:17). Opportunities for learning are there – we just have to find them. Enrolling in the MALAT program was the opportunity for me to move from visitor to resident on the Web. The creation of a blog through the MALAT program provides me the chance to experiment, make mistakes and create infrastructure that meets my needs and aligns with the designed learning outcomes. Campbell (2009) emphasized that, “learning won’t happen until each student builds a personal cyberinfrastructure that is as thoughtfully, rigorously, and expressively composed as an excellent essay or an ingenious experiment” (para 13). As I work as the architect and develop my blog and corresponding pages, I see myself as the narrator and curator of what could potentially be the new me with a strong digital identity (Campbell, 2009, para 12). Although, I am prepared to create and connect, I am not prepared to give up my privacy. As Boyd noted, “just because people are adopting tools that radically reshare their relationship to privacy [it] does not mean they are interested in giving up their privacy” (p. 12).
My journey in the MALAT program is personal and whether I have an audience or not, my success is based on knowing that I have achieved a milestone in my life. Boyd claimed that, “an increase in people’s ability to contribute to publics does not necessarily result in an increase in their ability to achieve an audience.” (p. 14). My measure of success is the creation of the infrastructure, not in the ability to achieve an audience. In my journey through the MALAT program, I will measure my success based on three criteria:
- I will obtain a solid understanding of the technologies that underpin the Web, which includes how my data circulates there (Watters, 2015, para 9). Through this understanding I will go from uncomfortable to comfortable as it relates to my digital identity.
- I will share information I garner throughout the program with other people in my network of friends, family and co-workers. Sharing my knowledge will increase my capacity to be comfortable with the information; and
- I will become an active collaborator of information with others. I will move from the ‘literacy of participation to the literacy of collaboration” (Rheingold, 2010, p.20). Collaboration in the work environment is a known quantity. Collaborating with others online, sharing my views and opinions, expressing my persona in these online spaces is brand new territory for me – and I’m ready for the challenge! (White and Le Cornu, 2011, p. 6)
Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructure. Educause Review, 44(5), 58-59. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure
Levy, C. (2019, April 15, 2019). Designing learning environments for a global market. Retrieved from http://ow.ly/PsyN50qn5QV
Rheingold, H. (2010.). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies
Watters, A. (2015, July 15). The Web we need to give students. Bright. Retrieved from https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713
White, D. S., & LeCornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). Retrieved from https://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049