Hace algún tiempo me pidieron desde el proyecto Rhizome que respondiera a algunas preguntas relacionadas con mi identidad digital…
En su momento respondí y me olvidé, pero hoy que ando con cosas de Identidad Digital en medio lo recordé y pensé que, ya que tengo un poco abandonado mi blog estos meses, no estaría mal compartirlo con todos vosotros. En su momento lo escribí en inglés (mi inglés, perdón por los errores), y pensé en traducirlo, pero si debo esperar a tener tiempo para traducirlo no lo pongo, así que usad la herramienta de traducción de ahí al lado si queréis 🙂
What does the term ‘digital identity’ mean to me?
“Digital identity” is –in my humble opinion- an artificial word construction as almost everything with the word digital in the beginning, and which is used to call something we have normally in the face to face environment (and we know very well), and we have found that we have also this in the Web.
Therefore, the digital Identity means to me the part of our identity which is expressed and perceived in the digital world. If I could use a metaphor to express what DI is for me I would use the reflection of you in the mirror, in this case in the digital mirror, is not you complete, but definitively it is you.
Is my digital identity ‘me’? Why?
Yes, as in the mirror, the image about me reflected on my DI is me.
Probably is not myself complete -as entire and complex being-, people have so many different sides to be analized, therefore is very difficult find a complete “abstract” or compendium about each person. Nevertheless, DI definitively is the image of mine to the connected world. So virtually, in my opinion, is “me” for the rest of the world.
No in vain, I have build this identity step by step, the majority of it consciously, and it is conformed and delimited by my public facts, desires, opinions, decisions, friends, groups, discussions, publications, comments, arguments, and so on. In the same way than my “non virtual” identity is.
Indeed, almost each one of my online actions has influence in my digital identity.
In the best case, you try to build and show the image you think is the best; for you this is what you want to be. However, your friends (and their DI) and your community of reference reveal to the rest of the connected world your affinities as well, in the same way as your enemies or kind arguments reveal what do you love, or what do you hate. People who admire you or reference you, shows your influence, relevance and power. Consequently, you, your connections and the connections from other (individuals or communities) to you, configure your image, your identity.
In the end, everything combined constitute you DI (personal and professional) and, finally, your DI is a mix between you individual understanding about yourself, and the understanding of you than the community (even different communities) have about you.
Our identity expresses who are we to ourselves and to the rest of the world, and our digital identity is currently an active part of it.
How and in what ways is digital identity important in education?
DI is getting more and more important because the limits between digital and non-digital world are less clear than ever. Nowadays, the digital life of people is a perfectly active part of their complete life, and in this life DI has a big importance.
Education is the cultural more active action to help people to be better adapted to life. Then DI has to be a key part of education at any level.
In the basic education, the main goal is try to provide to the person a minimum cultural salary to have the opportunity to survive successfully (as person and citizen) in the world. Basic processes of socialization are being carried out on-line (as example social networking phenomena in teenagers), digital world is the current context to study, talk, play, and almost every social activity today and influences the social context of relationships in the “physical world”.
Consequently, basic education has to include some basic processes which try to help people to build and reinforce their identities; actually, basic education does. Nevertheless, until now it has only provided “tools” to build (even “discover”) the identity in the “physical” world, because a big part of these tools comes from our experience, and the majority of our experience (the educators’ experience) comes from the physical world. So the challenge now is including strategies and basic skills to successfully define our identity -also in the digital world- to empower the basic processes of personal development.
In the professional learning (initial or continuous), the challenge is the same. A successful professional has to have a correct and powerful identity (physical and digital) because almost everything would be connected to it. Their knowledge, their circles of confidence, their friends and network of influence, power, employability, and so on, are defined by their identity. So the skill to manage successfully their identity would be crucial to be professionally successful as well.
Therefore, a key part of the professional learning has to include strategies to build and empower your digital identity, to define and administer –not only correctly but profitably- who are you and who are people and collectives who define you and condition you. Basically, what do you know and from whom are you learning. At the same time you have to learn how to show all you want to show to others, and how to protect any part of your life you want to conserve private.
And all of this must be part of a good education nowadays.
What skills and competencies do we need to manage our digital identity?
Managing our digital identity is a really complex thing. First of all, because it is difficult also in the face to face world; identity is a complex concept and you have to have a lot of competencies and skills related to your own personality and related to your links and friends, to manage it successfully. And secondly, it is difficult because almost everything “digital” is potentially new, and in the digital environment every day is changing and on it are appearing new people every moment, new channels, new ways of information, and connections between these channels that you maybe can not control, and nobody can help you with previous experience because of it is new for everybody.
Then managing your digital identity needs a combination between technical and personal competencies, competencies about managing yourself, and skills to manage your relationships to others.
Definitively you have to have basic skills about information (search, create, choose, recreate, communicate to –oral, written & mutlimedia- and publish information effectively, not only how do it, so where), about networking (interaction, relationship building and maintaining. How and where); but, at the same time, you have to have skills and competencies as self-esteem, independency, continuous improvement orientation, initiative, judgment, planning/organizing, and so on; even you have to be competent in learning in digital environment when available and appropriate, as well as take care of privacy, intellectual property rights and security issues in the online context.
What do you see as the current issue/s of concern surrounding digital identity
Nowadays, there are many topics surrounding DI. Probably, the two most important, at least in my context, are questions about security –specially in children and teenagers- and questions about management of DI for adults.
Young people are using naturally online tools to interact to others (to study, to know people, to play, to play pranks, etc.) but they don’t have the awareness of the level of publicity and the visibility of almost everything in the Web. They think The Web is invisible for their parents or for controlling people, so they can do almost whatever they want and it is fun. Nevertheless, awareness about security, the possibility to be discovered or published by someone is not a reality strongly perceived by them.
In the case of adults the big problem is also awareness. For adults, DI is conditioning their learning, employability, visibility, power and influence and they don’t have enough awareness about the role of DI in all these points, or they don’t have enough skills to develop this DI successfully.
Unfortunately, the “solutions” which are in the majority of texts and articles about this, talk about close identities and separated identities, about safe, not about awareness of public life, and about respect.
What do you see as future issue/s of concern in the area of digital identity?
Probably in the immediate future, concerns about what kind and amount of data about us in different tools and databases could be public, and how to protect data we don’t want to publish but we have to include in some places to get some services.
Another discussion would be about the nature of data from individuals which “must” be published by medical or security services to protect others. Evidently not only the nature, but also id there is any data which must be public or not.
Which tools and services do you use to manage your digital identity?
For example do you separate personal and professional identities?
I use too many online tools, especially social ones. I’m singed up almost everywhere :-). However I use very frequently some of them to work and to live:
• My web page.
• Blog (personal and professional)
• Instant messaging (Skype and Messenger)
• Xing & LinkedIn
It is important remark that I use GReader not only to read about other people, I use it to read about me: indeed I read about what people are saying about me or who is linking my online issues.
On the same way, if you ask me about personal and professional identities, in my opinion the more crucial question is not about personal and professional (at least in my case), it is important, but is not so crucial. The big question is to separate what is private (and shouldn’t be published) from what is public and try to don’t break the limits between private and not private. The same as in the face to face world is.
I try to don’t separate completely my personal identity from my professional identity; indeed I try to conserve some links between them. Nevertheless, at the same time, I use different tools for different proposes, I use for example one blog to talk about work, professional opinions, new papers I have read, and so on; and another blog to talk about my personal impressions or my personal experiences but, in both cases, everything I publish could be public. In the same way I use Flickr and have different collections, one about work, and another about free time, both are mine, and are very different, BUT both are public.
There are other environments and tools where I mix a bit more my personal and professional levels of relationship, for example Twitter, Blip.fm or Skype. And on the other hand I have some tools where I only have personal contacts (messenger) or professional contacts (Slideshare, different LMS I use, Xing or LinkedIn).
However, I’m trying to build my DI based on my professional world but always with some drops about me as a person in the more personal level. And I think is because of me, I want to be a complete image in the mirror, and it needs some from myself as a professional and some from myself as a person.