My Digital Identity Journey

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.

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3 thoughts on “My Digital Identity Journey

  1. I am so glad that you brought up your old email addresses, as this is something that Durston and I have been talking about quite a bit on our podcast. I too had an email that I used for the longest time that wasn’t the most appropriate, and couldn’t really remember why on earth I had chosen that one. I didn’t remember until you said not to use your name or anything that identifies you, and then it clicked! I forgot that we used to always be told this. It’s crazy how information changes over time, and what was once acceptable or the going norm is no longer. Thanks for reminding me about this little tip I was told so long ago, but had since forgotten. It really helps explain a lot.

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  2. Thank you for being so candid and open in this blog post, Jill! I know other people who have taken hiatuses from Facebook, and have talked about how much better they felt when they weren’t tied to their screens. One thing I have done (since watching the documentary “The Social Dilemma”) is turn off my notifications on various apps. Without the constant pinging and dinging, and little red circles in the corner of the app prompting you to look at it, I can just look at Facebook when I want to and catch up on the notifications I have missed.

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  3. When facebook arrived I also enjoyed it… I really loved the way it connected me to my old friends and my close acquaintances’ who were living away from me…
    But yes, after a few years I realized the importance of privacy.. and like every one of us, I also deleted my posts/pictures. Also, as mentioned by Kara, after watching ‘the social dilemma’ I also became more aware and turned off notifications/locations on several apps.

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