What does my digital identity and presence look like now? What is working, and what can I improve? Before I create a plan to cultivate my digital presence and identity, I had to reflect on my current practices. My online presence is primarily institutional. My job entails daily online participation and collaboration with people inside and outside my organization. I work with a team that creates, develops, and curates online content to support students in the college; most of this content is shared under an open license. I don’t participate or engage on social media; as a result, I have not built a public online identity. I am not comfortable using social media to participate in discussions and share ideas; consequently, I want to build my online identity in a more private setting, where I can still contribute and learn from other people.
Goal and Purpose
In order for my plan to be successful, it will need to be an approach that I feel comfortable with, but that will still push me out of my comfort zone. I want to start building my digital identity in semi-private platforms, such as LinkedIn, where I have control over who has access to my information, but I am still searchable. My goal for cultivating my online identity is to share ideas and learn from other people with similar interests. I want to foster online communities within my organization and other partner institutions—online spaces where we can collaborate and develop a community of practice. One benefit of learning online with others is that “With every connection, direct and indirect, comes the opportunity to learn, and learning happens in many of these interactions” (Dron & Anderson, 2014, p.4). I believe that participating in a community of practice can be a great source of inspiration and learning.
For the duration of the MALAT program, I plan to continue contributing to this blog and engaging in discussion with my peers. I look forward to making connections and learning together through the comments and discussion from the posts. We all come from different backgrounds and have different ideas and perspectives to share. “Educational communities can extend beyond the time and place of study to become the tool that forms and cements values, attitudes, connections, and friendships” (Dron & Anderson, 2014, p.17).
To achieve this goal, I plan to create an open group in my workplace using MS Teams to foster discussion and collaboration. In this group, we could share ideas, online resources, best practices, interesting articles, etc. First, I will ask my colleagues if they are interested in being part of this group and what they think it should look like. Second, I will post an announcement in the employee newsletter inviting people to participate. Rheingold (2010) said of collaboration, “in general doing things together gives us more power than doing things alone” (para.16).
In addition to my workplace group, I plan to create a similar group within my community. This informal group will have a focus on open educational practices and open online resources. To achieve this, I will ask colleagues that I have worked with at other colleges to be part of an online group to share ideas. I will consult them about the technology they prefer to use to communicate.
Lastly, I will be using LinkedIn to begin cultivating a more visible online identity. My first step will be updating my LinkedIn profile and connecting with people I already know. My goal is to build a diverse network that shares my interests.
Skills and Knowledge Gaps
These are the following gaps of knowledge I need to improve in order to be successful with my plan:
- Learning more about LinkedIn.
I need to understand better how it works and how I can protect my privacy to a level that makes me feel comfortable. I will accomplish this by exploring the platform and completing an online tutorial about LinkedIn in LinkedIn Learning.
- Improving my writing skills and confidence to share ideas in an open environment.
I need to feel more confident when writing and sharing my ideas online. Improvement in writing will happen naturally as I complete assignments and share comments. Additionally, I will use online resources and support such as the writing centre when I have questions or encounter challenges. Improving my writing will boost my confidence.
- Learning more about security and privacy online.
I will accomplish this by completing online tutorials on LinkedIn Learning and researching online privacy and security resources.
Measure of Success
I do not have an exact formula on how I am going to measure success. I can start by defining success in the following areas:
- Work and community group.
I will measure my success by how I contribute. I will make it a habit to read what others are posting on the groups and try to share and contribute my ideas as much as possible.
I will measure my success by the quality of my interactions with the connections I make. I will try to make meaningful connections and establish communication.
- MALAT Program.
I will be an active contributor to my blog, read others’ blogs, and make valuable contributions.
In conclusion, I think my plan to cultivate my digital identity and presence is a good place to start. With time, I believe I will feel more secure and prepared to open my digital identity to a more public space.
Dron, J, & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press. https://www.aupress.ca/books/120235-teaching-crowds/
Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literacies. Educause Review, 45(5), 14-24. https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies