Welcome to the session! We're keen to connect with all of you about the topic of digital identity and the wide range of very interesting questions about it.
This week our theme focuses on us and our digital identities. We'd like to get things rolling by asking everyone to engage in two activities.
Visit MIT's Personas, part of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit at the MIT Museum. This site "creates a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you." Just enter your name and see what you find out about yourself.
Take a look at
Questions to Consider
- How does Personas represent you on the Internet? What/who is included? What/who is missing?
- "You are what you share." What do you think about this statement from the Leadbeater video? Is this an ideological position? (Thinking about Norm Friesen's work here). What are the implications related to digital identity?
My question is how do I interpret this ? Thanks !!
Does it mean the more we share the better person we become ? As your "Digital Identity" grows do you loose your real life identity ? Do you become part of the "Matrix" ?
The intent of the exercise with the Personas exhibit - wasn't so much about interpretation as it was about gathering a visual sense of what the internet sees about David Brear! As the creators of the exhibit state: "it is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant."
You may have found that the portrayal of you was partly accurate and filled with many errors and that's the point. There are some things about our online selves that we can manage and some things we have no control over. That's why it's important for us to take some time to reflect on the ways that we interact with our online spaces everyday. What are we learning? Who are we interacting with and why? What pits did we fall into along the way and how can this inform how we guide others who are grappling with these issues along side us?
It is certainly a thought-provoking exercise to begin our discussion on identity. I think I know who I am in my own head, but is that how others perceive me? Should my public identity be constructed out of the threads of my Internet tracings and ramblings? Is this a "funkafied" version of googling ourselves? ... I have avoided navel gazing tweets, perhaps in part because of the idea of trying to maintain some semblance of personal privacy on the Internet ... hmmmmmm I am not sure what to think about this.... This will be an interesting session
re: Activity 2:
You are what you share .. I feel this also needs to be extended to " You are what you share and what others share about you." I have recently started down the path of online security and privacy in educational contexts, so I certainly agree with the concept as it relates to digital identity. The metaphor of the bird's nest is so apt. Yet, who are we if not a mosaic of our interactions with self and others?
From a total rambling thought, my digital identity is a tad different than my work identity, than my family identity, etc. Each is inter-twined and perhaps an inseparable tangle of threads... but again, where I am and within what context I operate determines the dominant identity ... ugh.. now my brain synapses resemble that bowl of noodles in the video! ... someone grab an end and pull!
Wendy Kraglund-Gauthier wrote,
Such an interesting question...in the "physical" world, we learn how to interact/socialize and (to some extent) reflect. We learn through observation, trial and error (lots of them) especially when we're young. Yet, in the "online" world, we want to sanitize, ban young people from "wasting time" there. So, how will they learn those social cues (different from the ones they learn face to face)? Those interactions take time to learn (at least they did for me).
Yet, who are we if not a mosaic of our interactions with self and others?
Activity 1: What information was I supposed to get through the Personas site? I have an unusual and uncommon surname and so there aren't many of me in the world, but I didn't seem to get anything. So now I really want to know what I'm missing!
Activity 2: Could be me or it could be my organizations' fire wall, but I couldn't connect to the We Think video. I'll try again from home because the other information I found on the Internet suggests it'll be an interesting read.
I can see a strong connection to digital identities to learners in computer courses/programmes, but what connection are you making to math, science, communications, etc. What's the WIIFM? (what's in it for me)
I put my name in and mostly got people who aren't me (that's what happens with such a common name). Then I tried "Mctoonish" which is the name of my blog and user name on most social networking sites (Twitter, et al). and only got my blog. It made me feel very inconsequential.
Dean Sharesky (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan) recommended that I try spezify.com and I got this http://spezify.com/#/mctoonish
I agree with Wendy that it is "You are what you share and what others share about you." It's also about who is actually listening to you. It makes me happy when I see that people I respect in my field are following me (or even referencing me), but I get a lot of "new follower" notices from Twitter that are actually from online marketers. Clay Shirky noted in Here Comes Everybody that these marketers "friend" lots of people in the hopes that others follow them in return. In reality only other marketers tend to follow them thinking the same thing.. Nobody actually reads what any of them have to say.
I found this very interesting - especially watching as it indexed different sets of information to create the final view. See attached doc for details
I searched on 3 names that I inhabit; Bronwyn Stuckey, Bron Stuckey, and Dr Bronwyn Stuckey. The first of these is my full name. The second is an identity that I have purposely been creating in my online work and research in virtual worlds, communities of practice and teacher professional development. The third is my academic title and used in face-to-face academic work.
One thing I already knew is that there is another Australian Dr Bronwyn Stuckey and she is a specialist male reproductive medicine. We have been confused by others before (her sister even skyped me to congratulate me on finally using 21st century tools). Alas her practice is more hands on than mine ;-) So hence the 'medicine' (and perhaps 'politics') highly represented in my totally non-medical profile.
On the surface it would seem that my goals for my purposely built identity are being realised although 'online' seems to rate very lowly for an identity I use nowhere else but online.
I am still pondering what to make of all this but wanted to share with you in case it was interesting for you too.
I'm a curious cat who is out and about making connections and thinking/doing things educational and experiential.
I put in my full name Alice Macpherson
Primarily my education roles came up and pretty accurately. It was fun and I didn't get anyone else.
I've have been careful about what I put out electronically. Seems this has paid off. We can tailor how we are seen ... when we put it out.
Can we tailor how others see us?
Alice Macpherson wrote,
That's a good question! The way each of us perceives another person or situation is influenced by so many factors (context, experience, values, worldview, etc, etc) - that won't change. However, I wonder if (at some point) the way we view what we find on the web will gradually change - as we become more saavy about data mining and internet searches, but also as we become more accustomed to seeing ourselves reflected online.
Can we tailor how others see us?
Alas, according to Personas, I am a bland person with wide swathes of 'education' and 'online' and a narrow pinch of 'social'. That may be because my active participation on the Internet falls into work and research areas - I may be the last person in Canada to refrain from Facebook. I shared the tool with a friend who is asking her teenager daughter to use it to check if her many online personae are colouring her online identity in ways that may surprise her....The tool is interesting to use as such an awareness check.
And yes, it counts my online 'sharing' events and interprets it into an 'identity' for my name. However, the Persona identity only slightly represents my human identity(for lack of a better term): it includes any person of that name (as is the case for Bronwyn, a Swiss doctor with the same name adds 'medicine' to my identity); and it covers only one of the several forms of my name I use online.
Trish - how do you define 'digital identity', and what effect or relationship does digital identity have to human identity ?
The Leadbeater statement "We are what we share" is presented as our current condition, contrasted with our former condition of "We are what we own". I'm not sure I understand or agree with this - seems simplistic.
I have yet to read the Friesen references, but look forward to sorting this all out in the weeks ahead.
Bye for now,
Activity 2 I do think, to a certain extent, we are what we share, at least in a public sense. Of course, we do not control all that is shared about us, hence my monitoring of my name using Google. I have tried to be intentional about sharing and publishing positive and useful things, both professionally and personally, because your reputation really is valuable, especially when so many people can be aware of you without your knowledge or consent.
I also agree that such wide availability of ideas does stimulate the thinking of others and we are much smarter collectively than we are individually.
Sharing is really important to a civil society. The steady decline of sharing and community-spirited actions is a growing concern. More and more people seem to be looking out for themselves alone at the expense (literally and figuratively) of others. "What's in it for me?" even in not-for-profit and humanitarian endeavors. The cynicism and arrogance of many is contributing to the decline for all. Lots of people are in for a rude awakening when they realize that all the men are not good looking and all the children are not above average.
However, I'm reassured by the online learning communities. We see amazing examples of so many who are willing to share what they have and so generously give to the global society. The good guys win in the end... I hope.
Interesting to hear about your experiences of finding information about yourself that you expected , as well as those unexpected surprises about others with your name. Raises an interesting question:
How can we distinguish ourselves and our digital identity from others to ensure that prospective employers, colleagues, collaborators, students, others know who's who?
And, Valerie, I really appreciate the link you've made between sharing and a civil society.
Kittilson & Dalton from UC Irvine have done some interesting research related to this. For me, it confirms the notion that what we share contributes to:
- building trust in people outside our immediate personal networks
- sharing our cultural, social and political interests
- learning from the sharing of others about the world and the world as others experience and live it
- building a civil society
The other thing that struck me is how much my online identity is tied to my work, especially the SCoPE community and activities here, and to SCoPE members. In fact some of those people are right here in this seminar. I saw Heather's name move by the screen in the context of a presentation we did together a few years ago about SCoPE. Bronwyn showed up in a description of a SCoPE seminar we facilitated on Managing Multimembership in Social Networks. And look at the screen shot! Right smack in the middle of my spezify output was a tweet from Jeffrey Keefer about this very seminar. I mean, of all the years of data and people out there isn't it amazing that what was generated has so many connections to what is happening right here, this week, in SCoPE?!
And the final thing I mention is that I was struck by the randomness of what showed up using both persona and spezify. Of all the photos, why this one taken on a hike this summer in Washington? And why, of all the seminars I participated in with the Global Educators Network 10 years ago did this page of URLs mentioned in a "tools and needs" discussion show up?
Lots of surprises and puzzles!
My biggest blocks in the band of colours were for online, sports, management, education and music which given the composite blending of multiple Paul Stacey's is not far off this Paul Stacey.
The "you are what you share" idea is interesting but it seems to me to be such a small piece really. Its like saying "you are what you wear".
I really enjoyed the Personas Activity. Very interesting, indeed. "How the Internet sees you" is worth the investigation. Thank you for opening such a frame for thought.