Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Digital Identity: the edited me

Being part of the Digifolios experience has given me pause for thought on the nature of digital identity - not least because I didn't know what one was until last week.

I guess my first foray into this world was when my good friend and unofficial mentor, @stujohnson (his twitter id), invited me to be part of Facebook. He's a good deal younger than me and I thought FB was for, well, people a good deal younger than me. For 6 months I had two friends on FB: him and a mutual work colleague.

Then about 18 months ago, my official mentor and now friend, @hallymk1 (his twitter id) invited a bunch of newly embarked PGCE students (of which I was one) to contribute to a blog: and so my blogging self was born.

Only last February I discovered delicious, netvibes and RSS (again, my friend @stujohnson) and in June, my boss introduced me to Twitter. Since last summer I have been blogging here and Tweeting as Virtual Leader.

I still find the notion of a digital id rather scary. ID theft is a worry of course, as is spamming, but its more about how I will be perceived in this virtual world. Eventually all things connect up and I risk having aspects of my life and work inadvertently revealed in places I'd rather they weren't.

Its not that I have dark and shameful secrets to hide (well none I am going to tell you about here!) just that I am essentially, and paradoxically, rather partial to maintaining my privacy: I keep a private blog about my learning on my PGCE programme, for example, and I maintain a wholly separate online identity as an aficionada of salsa - different FB profile, website, blog.....

I have read elsewhere that on line relationships permit a freedom and intimacy that f2f doesn't always allow: it is possible to hide behind a created identity to be bolder and more open than we would be in "real" life, without the risks of rejection, perhaps?

In the same way that my profile pic is carefully chosen, cropped and "fixed" to present an acceptable face to the world, asynchronous blogging, discussion boards and emails - even video blogs that I can review before publishing - present the edited me.


  1. great reflection.
    Learning in good company, through conversation and encouraging support that is my kind of learning! I like to learn by observing what people do. then discussing why and how they people did. Then sometimes I need to try it too! I learn well when posed to challenges, and especially when there is not the tension of being graded. I learn better when those challenges are explored in the company of others. And I learn best when I really start feeling totally comfy with people in my learning circles - when we get connected not only through a machine, but also through mind and soul. When I start realizing that I can trust that people, that these are also my friends, independently of never having met them f2f(in exchange I hope they feel the same).

    As for my IDs - I know people who have a professional and a personal one. That's one way of doing it. I only have one. It's mainly professional, and I also share there some more personal traits... that's just how I am I guess ;-)

  2. thanks Cristina: I especially like your comment about learning when there isn't the tension of being graded.....I know this is true for me and I want to do something about this with my students...hmmm!

  3. I like the notion that I am *official*!

    Good, critical, personal reflection. BTW how's that PBL essay?