When I started my thoughts on what is a digital presence, I asked friends, collogues, and even several inherent strangers what they thought of their own digital presence. Most of the responses centered around social media, and the degree to which they participated in these platforms.
This got me thinking, is this the only way we can create a digital identity? Is a digital identity the same as knowing someone in real life, but simply replaced with pictures instead of memories? Written words and comments instead of spoken conversations? I think not. I challenged myself to think about the word identity first, and digital second. Let me present a concept to you: my nephew is 16 months old, and if you go to take a picture of him with your phone (sigh..digital), he immediately strikes a pose, then wants to see the image. Now I am by no means an expert on child developmental psychology, but is this him forming an identity of himself? When do we start being aware of our own identity? And if I post this picture online, does this start to create his digital identity? Are we even responsible for creating our own digital identity or can other people form part of it too?
Alas, I had to rein it in and focus on who I wanted to be in this digital existence, and the purpose of creating my own digital identity.
My approach to creating a digital presence focusses on growing my knowledge of the tools available to me. I hope to use these tools to expand my presence online in the areas I want to be a part of. My goals include contributing to the conversations, not just observing them. First, I need to know where these conversations are happening. Second, I need to establish myself as someone who is worthy of being in the conversation. By creating an identity of an educator, a student, and a contributor I can form an identity as an active participant, not just an observer. Third, I hope to measure these successes through you all, all who read this, who also learn and contribute. My goal of creating a digital identity is to allow me to be a member of digital communities. Rheingold (2010, p.20) spoke of the use of technology, its influences, and moving from participation to collaborating “in general doing things together gives us more power than doing things alone.”
Rheingold, H. (2010, p.20). Attention, and other 21st century social media literacies. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies.