For me, the need to become a critical citizen has drastically changed in the last four years, this was also the time my professional career was beginning. I used Facebook particularly to connect with friends, family and acquaintances, but I was going to be on the job market and realized it could affect my professional career. As a result, I started deleting all my posts and then decided I had to delete my accounts. A year later, I opened new social media accounts and was very strategic in the ways I used them. I found it was a different experience, I had less friends and a lot more professional networks but also more work. It became common for students to ask for letters of recommendation via social platforms or for students to comment on my teaching. These apps felt a lot like my Soots or my professional e-mails, so again I decided to change how I was using these apps.
I currently use Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Slack, Skypeand Google specifically for academic purposes. In these social platforms, I mainly interact with academics, writers, professors, graduate students, researchers, and colleagues. I am happy with my current online interaction, although at times I feel I’ve had to sacrifice personal and social relationships with the people I know. For me, it was either a professional identity or a personal one, having multiple audiences was a challenge I was not ready to undertake. Perhaps, as I grow in my professional career I can change the ways I interact online. This goes back to a question Cristina made in her earlier blog, “how important will [my digital identity] be when I go up for tenure?” This is a tricky question, having a digital identity may affect our professional career but also not having one can have the same effect. It almost becomes suspicious for a person not to have a digital identity or be a critical online citizen. It is as if our online presence is a form of ID and not having one can implicate a lack of existence, credibility or citizenship.