Cultivating My Digital Identity & Digital Presence

Image by J Garget from Pixabay

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).

Strategies

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  • LinkedIn.
    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.

References

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

8 thoughts on “Cultivating My Digital Identity & Digital Presence

  1. Hi Annabella,

    Thanks for posting. You mention that you are wanting to limit your digital identity to relatively private networks. This is a sentiment that I feel as well. In keeping your digital network private, do you have any apprehensions that you will miss out on information, network, or relationships that are found on more public online spaces? I sometimes find that my attempts at anonymity are limited due to my privacy settings. For example, LinkedIn requires certain privacy permissions be removed in order to view some content (such as credentials or experiences of contributors).

    Lastly, do you have a plan to manage creating some of these more private social spaces with your community and colleagues, if their preference is a more open space vs a closed access location?

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts !

    Paula.

    1. Hi Paula,

      I have mixed feelings about it. I work in an environment where I get to know people often. So it is relatively easy to expand my network with the people I know. For information purposes, I have a Twitter account that I use as a visitor to follow people in the field. I also subscribed to several listservs that keep me up-to-date. Regarding LinkedIn, that is something I have to learn more about; I haven’t used it too much and don’t have much personal information on it. I guess that platform is what is going to push me out of my comfort zone.

      For the groups, I think my biggest challenge will be the community group. I have some colleagues that have created groups before that are open spaces, but you need an invitation to access them. I think having an open group without any privacy would be very hard to manage. However, I don’t think I will have problems setting up the group for my institution. Microsoft Teams is easy and convenient to set up; also, it allows to share files and store them.

      I will keep you updated once I know how I am going to approach these groups.

      Thank you for reading my post!
      Anabella

      1. Thanks Anabella! I am really looking forward to hearing your progress, as well as your learnings as you further engage digitally with those in your life.

        Paula.

  2. Hi Anabella,
    I enjoy reading how others explain how success will be measured and like you I often measure success based on self-reflection and the value I contribute. Often we’re hardest on ourselves to perform, solve problems, and progress to the next level and I look forward to being a part of the MALAT community to learn from and grow alongside, meandering through digital communities we’re currently unfamiliar with but interested in discovering to positively impact communities we’re already a part of. Does your current workplace involve a lot of coordination with online communities beyond your geographic area? – Myrna

    1. Hi Myrna.
      I am not sure about all my institution. In the Library, we work with 24 college libraries in Ontario. We share responsibilities and work together on different projects.
      Thank you for reading my post!
      Anabella

  3. Thanks for this post Annabella! I’m curious about what you mention about an open Teams group at work. Is this something that is currently done at your workplace, or are you forging a new path with this activity?

    I love the references you’ve made to Dron & Anderson’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed the first readings that we were assigned and am looking forward to the next readings for Unit 3.

    1. Hi Corie,
      It has been done in some capacity. For example, I have participated in open groups for a specific project. This will be a new group, and I will be looking for support in different areas of my Institution to create.
      Thank you for reading my post!
      -Anabella

  4. Hi Anabella, Thanks for your post. Your comments on more private network interactions made me reflect and realize I have similar feelings with interacting more within closed communities. Digital privacy and security are important issues and it’s easy to forget how much data we allow platforms to collect and share. I think we will all be evaluating our level of visibility and openness throughout our MALAT program and find our balance that works best for each person. – Zac

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