When I sit back and reflect on my Digital Identity, I am immediately drawn to the extensive list of email addresses I began my online journey with. Horselover10, sparkleprincess_439 and gurlygurl_10 – some of the many user names I have tried out over the years. Don’t use your real age or real name I was once told, so I figured that all of these would protect me from creepy internet stalkers. I was completely untraceable AND super cool!
When I first got facebook, I thought it was the coolest thing! I enjoyed looking at the photos others chose to post. Checking out their trips, weddings, new babies – I loved it all! I set up my facebook account in my last year of university, so I liked that I could keep tabs on my friends and see where everyone’s lives took them. I didn’t have the app for my phone, so the time I spent on it was minimal (compared to now) . Slowly, facebook became more about rants and vent sessions than about posting albums of home renovation. I took a hiatus from facebook after my brother passed. I didn’t want to read the posts or see any other news about him. It was refreshing and it took me a long time to log back on because I loved the sense of freedom I felt not being tied to facebook. When my teaching load was switched to highschool, I started to receive friend requests from my students which I promptly deleted the app. I wasn’t confident with my security settings and I just thought it was easier to delete my profile and be done with facebook.
I realize now that I took the same approach to my facebook presence that most people do to social media. As soon as I got nervous, I “jumped the gun” and deleted it. Much like keeping my professional life separate from my private life, this is proving to be a difficult task. Out of sight, out of mind – right? Wrong. Instead of doing this, I should have focused more on building my confidence and learning more about my digital identity. Finding ways to have an online presense that reflected my views as an educator, while still being me! After reading Overcoming Digital Dualism I am beginning to understand that my “online” presence is enmeshed with my “offline” and that the two are actually inseperable.
I liken this situation to my use of technology (specifically cell phones) in the classroom. I need to focus on building my confidence with new apps and teach students how to be respectful and responsible online. I need to grow as a digital citizen, as well as take my students along on that journey.