Defining my Digital Identity and Digital Presence

My generation was the last to grow up without the internet. It was also the first to have the internet and all its connectedness thrust upon us in our teenage years. In true millennial fashion I embraced the internet, and the opportunity to develop my internet presence, as soon I got a personal desktop computer. I became a resident of networks such as MySpace, CalgaryPlanet (I’m surely giving away my age here!), and of course Facebook.

In a 2011 Gadgetwise post, Sam Grobart asks “Should I be a jerk or a human being on Facebook”. This question really sums up the first 15 years of my experience on the internet, and more specifically, my experience with social networks or digital public spaces. Previous iterations of my digital identity engaged in behaviour that I am now remorseful for.  In 2017 I made the conscious decision to reduce my digital presence and decrease the ‘noise’ that I contributed to online spaces. Adults often joke of “How lucky we are that social media platforms didn’t exist when we were younger”, because as adults with real life experiences, we understand the implications that our digital identities can have on our real, brick and mortar lives.

This assignment thrust me back into a position where I have to consider my digital presence and footprint, a thought I assumed was far gone.

The goal and purpose for cultivating my digital presence is primarily professional in nature. I wish to learn from my academic and professional peers, share my knowledge to all who wish to access it, and network with individuals and organizations that I respect. At this point, I have chosen to limit my personal digital presence to a professional realm as much as possible.

My approach and map of digital technology tools for managing my identity can be seen by clicking the image below.

In my map, I have highlighted the areas in which I plan to establish, or further establish, my digital presence. My measures of success will include:

–        Increase in proficiency/competency

–        Steady use/engagement on each platform

–        Decrease in apprehensions outlined related to each platform

Unlike some of my MALAT colleagues, I have chosen not to further my personal digital presence outside of the spaces I have currently identified. This is my attempt at a slow growth module for my digital presence. Once I have overcome some of the apprehensions I have identified in my map, I may look again at other social spaces and networks and re-evaluate my use of them. To bring it back to my second paragraph, I wish for my digital identity to contribute value to the spaces I inhabit



Grobat, S. (2011, May 9). Should I Be a Jerk or a Human On Facebook? New York Times Blog.


8 thoughts on “Defining my Digital Identity and Digital Presence”

  1. Paula,
    Your DIDP plan is so clear, organized, and easy to follow. I appreciate how you identified your proficiency with the tools in your plan, as well as your apprehensions related to each. You made so many points within this post that I can relate to – growing up without the internet and then leaping into it, the fear of openness, stepping back from creating a digital identity, and now, re-examining what version of ourselves we want to be online. Do you anticipate that as you increase your proficiency and comfort levels that you might be more likely to bring the personal into the professional presence you develop?
    – Amber

    1. Hi Amber! Thank you for your comment.

      I am hoping that as we explore our digital identities, and work on our plans over the next two years, that an indirect side effect of that will be my ability to “let go”, and speak from a tone that truly represents me. In order to fully examine my motivations, the research topics that interest me, and contribute to the MALAT program and other professional online spaces, I think I will have to dig deep and bring a personal approach to my writing and my networking.


  2. Hi Paula,
    Thank you for your post!
    Your plan is very similar to mine. Like we shared in my post, I think we have the same issues with having an open identity. I love the way you describe your digital presence and identity plan.
    How are you planning to decrease the apprehensions you outlined for each of the platforms?

    1. Hi Annabella!

      Exposure Therapy! <– Joking, sort of. This program has already put my out of my comfort zone in regards to apprehensions. I never would have imagined having a blog that was public, where people could read, consider, and potentially criticize my thoughts. I think that the more we engage in areas that are outside of normal spaces, the more comfortable we will be. Or, that is what I am hoping!

  3. Hi Paula,

    I really enjoyed your thoughtful, open, and authentic reflections in this post about digital identity and presence. I also appreciate your clear, measured approach as you proceed with its development, and I believe that it connects perfectly with you philosophy/goal: “I wish for my digital identity to contribute value to the spaces I inhabit.”

    I share some of the same apprehensions you have identified, particularly around privacy, security, and assumptions being made based on presence as represented on public platforms. Do you have any thoughts on how to overcome some of these? Perhaps judicious use including careful consideration of what we share is one simple measure, but that in and of itself is quite complex.


    1. Hi Alisha!

      Thank you for your comment.

      I think my approach to overcoming some of these issues related to perception will be twofold. One, being radical acceptance – meaning, I am not in control of the perceptions that others have of me. The second being as you mentioned, a more controlled or judicious use “controlled” sharing. While we may not be able to control what another individual or organization thinks, we can mitigate impressions by what we choose to share, or how we choose to share it. I think the second point really goes back to ensuring I am contributing value to my spaces.

      Now that I am re-reading my response, I am wondering – if we are trying to influence or goaltend others perception of us by design or omission of certain content – are we truly being ourselves? Hmm. Thoughts to ponder.

      1. I appreciate that you are furthering my thinking on this complex issue, Paula. I do think there’s a place for wisdom and intentionality about what we post, but I agree that artificially “grooming” my presence would undermine authenticity and compromise my core values. Have you watched this video from the Unit 3 readings yet (sorry, I can’t seem to hyperlink in comments)?

        Stewart, B., Phipps, L., & Cormier, D. (2019, April 10). The Participatory open: Can we build a Pro-Social, Pro-Societal web? [Video]. You Tube.

        I like a lot of what the presenters suggest about reclaiming the web, being pro-social in our contributions, and particularly that we need to “bring our values to the internet” (20:20) with consciousness of the quality of our participation on it.

  4. Hi Paula,
    I empathize with the feeling you describe in your first paragraph as I feel we both belong to the same generation, I remember growing up without the use of internet and also being part of the first generations to have computer classes with the use of internet. I never felt attracted to create an online identity or join a virtual space.
    I enjoyed reading your post and I also share the same feeling you have when you say “I have chosen not to further my personal digital presence outside of the spaces I have currently identified”(Insell,2021). However, if you were to choose other digital platforms which ones would you choose and why?

    Thank you.

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