Digital Identity: Past, Present, Future

I’ll admit I was nervous to Google myself – not because I’ve ever posted something that I’m not proud of, but because I’m not all too sure what “ownership” (ha! ownership online..) I have over something once I click “publish” or “post”. Also…what is out there that I don’t know about?

Turns out, no need to be worried! Everything that came up was something that I’m either currently involved in or have been involved in throughout my life. My search turned up results from dance competitions from way back, the results of my current students when my studio name is attached, cycling, some of my sister’s athletic accomplishments, family obituaries, and blog posts from undergrad.

I found that if I typed in my former city beside my name, there wasn’t much that showed up. But if I typed my current city then I was able to find more current information on myself. Which makes sense because most of what I found is work related in regard to sharing the successes of my school, students, and events! I also don’t often go by my full name so I typed in other versions thinking that maybe it would pull different results – not the case!
After looking into this, I wonder…what is the association between my name and the rest of the stuff that shows up online with my search?

We discussed in class that some of our students are no longer able to be “forgiven or forgotten” when it comes to online identity and I feel like I was on the cusp of that divide. I wish it was as easy as Wall-E makes it seem…

But we all know that’s not exactly the case. There can be some ramifications for what contributes to our online identities.

I remember when I was in high school and “scare tactics” were used to teach about digital citizenship but nothing was really mentioned in regard to the positives of posting. This is something that I didn’t always agree with and something that I’ve been mulling over especially while in this class. Why not post? Why not build a positive identity? Why not begin to build a multi-faceted platform online that encapsulates your growth from “this is where I started” to “here’s where I want to go”. And this is where that [digital] citizenship and [digital] literacy conversation becomes so crucial. If we can have students become even a little bit more critical about what they’re posting online, I think there is opportunity to embrace the potential of combining their personal and school-related online identities.
In order to do this, we have to ask of ourselves and our students:

  • What are you posting?
  • Where are you posting it?
  • Why are you posting this?
  • What do you hope this contributes to your digital identity?

David Buckingham’s article (Chapter Four in this book) discusses the relation of digital and media literacy in regard to what students are going to produce for school as being influenced heavily by their personal online use and interests. This article was also referenced in a catalyst presentation!




3 thoughts on “Digital Identity: Past, Present, Future

  1. I too wondered what would come up if I “Googled” myself and was surprised to find my name really only in family obituaries or staff directories. So how can I develop my own Digital Identity online? Well blogging for this class is a start!! I love your idea about how we can show growth over time in what we post and I think we will all show that as we develop our blogs further during and beyond this course.


  2. Do you think more comes up when our students google themselves because they have been online longer? Would be interesting to do as an activity if your students are comfortable sharing with you!


    • Thanks for stopping by, Katie! I think that’s a great point – on longer and definitely more engaged in more platforms that I have been. More places to build a digital identity that’s for sure.
      I like that idea for the students!!


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