This past Monday, I created a Twitter account…..wow, it is something! I feel like an intrepid explorer with my mouse and my keypad browsing through the good, the bad, the interesting, and the unabashedly ugly.
This exploration into uncharted territories has sparked many conversations with friends, coworkers, and my supervisor about social media, networking, digital identity, etc. One conversation in particular, served as a great precursor to Katia Hildebrandt’s writing, “(Digital) Identity in a World that No Longer Forgets.” We were talking about mistakes, forgiveness, the ability to grow as an individual, and how the internet/its audience seems to only focus on one of these: mistakes. When we look at this week’s theme, networks, along with the idea of making mistakes online – how might that impact resonate on and off-line? Will our networks, our audience grant forgiveness and give room for us to grow as individuals or will they partake in “cybervigilantism?”
Hildebrandt perfectly described my own worry that, “our every digital act might someday be scrutinized by someone, somewhere, the scope of what we can ‘safely’ discuss online is incredibly narrow and limited to the mainstream and inoffensive.” I do not believe that most companies, especially social media platforms, are naturally ethically or morally responsible. They will not, without pressure or demand, construct or facilitate environments that foster compassion and grace.
Aside from my newly formed Twitter account and an old LindedIn profile, I do not formally interact in many online networks. #DigPINS has thrown me into more forums at once than I think I have ever had. It has been interesting.
Entering this learning community, I expected that I would learn more about the value of having an online presence and curating a digital identity (which I believe I have) but I also expected that participating would kick off my desire to be more connected/digitally “present.” I cannot say it has done the latter. If anything, I am questioning the value in working to curate a digital identity beyond this project. I think it can be immensely valuable for many professionals. However, I do not know what I as an individual need a large online presence. On the other hand, the opportunity for an office or department presence is still worth considering.
Despite my questioning, I am savoring the conversations sparked in and out of #DigPINS, and deeply appreciate the work everyone in this learning community has put into creating this experience.