As I stare at my blank, hand-drawn tension-pair map (White & Le Cornu, 2011), I find myself reflecting on my digital identity. After some time, I am able to finish the activity, but not before reflecting on the act itself: it is complicated. I know it shouldn’t be, but it is painstaking.
I manage to transfer my perceptions onto my drawing using pencil and paper, nothing fancy. It’s greyscale. I choose grey because the complexity of colour is too intricate a detail to deconstruct. I move things around just enough to make it capture me. There are no compartments, I can’t be compartmentalized. I want it to look like water, because I want to believe I am fluid, not fixed.
Here’s where I get stuck: When do we consider the factors that contribute to the typologies presented? Before, after, during? What about time: do we reconstruct a new map every so many years? How about context: do we reconstruct a new map for every career change?
In 2021, is my digital identity separate from my personal identity? When I participate in this act, and log my engagement in digital spaces, am I not fully participating? I wonder if our modes of behaviour are extrinsic to our identity politics. I wonder how much we are performing (Cover, 2012), and how much we are authentic in these spaces, and to what degree this affects our placement.
Whether I like it or not, I am pegged down onto this spectrum in one way or another.
And I suppose that’s the point.
“There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet” -T. S. Eliot
White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011, September 5). View of Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement: First Monday. View of Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement | First Monday. https://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049
Cover, R. (2012). Performing and undoing identity online: social networking, identity theories and the incompatibility of online profiles and friendship regimes. Convergence, 18(2), 177–193. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856511433684
Eliot, T. S. (n.d.). The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/44212/the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock