Week 9 Response: Identity, Reputation and Social Capital

This week in ECI831 we are reading about Identity, Reputation and Social Capital.  Some of the readings posed questions such as are resumes dead, how one can land a dream job by using the web in creative ways and is Facebook only a place where we display our best, fake selves?  While another reading helped us understand how to manage our digital identity in constructive, careful way.

After reading these articles I still had more questions.  There are many Youtube vidoes and online sources to learn from.  One video that I found particularly helpful was Managing Your Digital Identity by Kate Myers Emery of MSU.

Of course, it is important to manage your digital identity and ensure that when a potential employer or anyone at all Googles you, they find positive, informative information about you.  And certainly, we want to do everything we can to ensure that no one can use our identity in any harmful way.  After considering these ideas I decided to look a bit deeper.

I think an even more interesting topic is identity in the larger sense.  Who is it that I want to be?  How do I want people to percieve me?  The answers to this question may be somewhat different when you insert the word online.  However, I believe to a great degree the answers will be the same.  In my online search about identity I found a number of interesting videos on the topic of mashing online identity with “real-world” identity.

In the video below futuristic novelist William Gibson predicts that future generations will make no distinction between online identity and real world identity.

Another interesting (and shorter) video of William Gibson’s ideas can be found below.

Classmate Carla Cooper also referred to transparency.  I agree with Carla that transparency is a key aspect in thinking about who we are in real life and online.  What is really the point in “faking” our identity in any space?  Why not define our “brand”?

As teachers (and parents) we have the ability to affect the thinking of our young people on this topic.  I believe we have a responsibility to have these discussions.  It is important that we talk to them about who they want to be and how they want to be perceived by others.  We can all “design our identity” online and in real life.  In my opinion, this is not a negative.  In fact, you might think of it as one of the important purposes in life.  We are constantly defining and redefining ourselves, trying to figure out “who am I?”.  The reality is that defining our identity now involves the internet as well  as the real world and real people.  The more conscious we are about our identity, the better, I think.

What do you think?  Should we (or to what extent should we) make a distinction between our “real-world” identity and our online identity?


5 thoughts on “Week 9 Response: Identity, Reputation and Social Capital

  1. Great post! I think we need to be very conscious of our online identity, whether it is googling ourselves to get a better look at our online brand or keeping up with social media account. A also agree that we need to have that discussion with our students to send the message that something you post online could have consequences later on in life. More and more employers are digging deeper online to find out who they are really hiring and if a simple google search can ruin your chances of getting a job, then we need to be aware of what we/others are posting online.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You make a great point about redefining ourselves. I think that we have to realize though that online and face to face are the same person so whatever we are projecting or defining on one must be on the other. We might restrain certain information online because its public, just as we do not share certain things to certain people face to face. We have a right to privacy or keeping certain parts of our lives private, but our online presence should not be considered the “real world” just as walking down the street or going to work.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for the post! I also enjoyed the William Gibson video link!

    Just last night (wow, party Friday, I know!) I was looking to classmates’ blogs to see what others’ thoughts were on identity. Identity and self were concepts that I had blogged about a couple of weeks ago, but have been continually surfacing since then.

    One example of my thoughts on the topics of “identity” and “performance of self” emerged from a couple of days ago from a post I made on my Facebook account about drug misconceptions. My Aunt had privately messaged me saying, “humm that type of sweet girl?” With a weirdly unrelated emoticon of a fish…???

    To be honest, I don’t even really understand her question, but it made me think about what it is that I decide to click “share” about and why.

    An interesting series of insights followed, which had me thinking more about our two identities actually being merged into one self. This made me selfconscious so I deleted my post! More questions of myself as to why I chose to remove the content, but I know that I was wondering (as I often do in “real” life) how people actually perceive me.

    Online settings allow for people to have more, and longer, exposure of our communications. We are viewing posts, pictures, and links about one another all of the time. I wonder what assumptions people might be concluding?? What judments are they possibly making based on?

    Thanks again for your post,

    Ps. Check out: https://catsinpink.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/todays-panopticon/comment-page-1/#comment-25
    for my post on this topic 🙂


  4. Yes Jaime, I wonder about how people perceive me too. However, it has become less and less as I get older! Which is fantastic!! I have also become more bold about what I post online over the years. I remember when I first got on Facebook and Twitter, both times I was extremely self conscious about what I posted – realizing that I was making myself vulnerable. I have since gotten past that as I have become more comfortable in my own skin and my digital identity. So I really do feel it is one in the same. This class has helped me to become even less afraid of speaking my mind, or posting what’s on my mind. People don’t have to agree with me. I’m entitled to my opinion and I know better how to respond now when people do disagree.
    I also had a similar experience the other day, when I posted a public Facebook post (which I rarely do!!). I commented on a picture (on Huffington Post) of PM Trudeau (Whom I have a great deal of respect for) and his wife walking behind him. I commented that it was a great picture but would be improved if the husbands and wives walked together (instead of the wife behind). A woman rudely commented “What planet are you on?”. So I responded that I didn’t understand why people need to be unkind on these sites, we all have a right to an opinion, that I was trying to say something positive and she should try it sometime!! And that was the end of it.
    I never would have had the courage to respond like that a year ago!
    I usually don’t engage in these types of public forums, for exactly this reason. But now I feel like it is important to have some intelligent and progressive perspectives on those sites. And I can be one.
    I am also better at forming arguments around social issues in real life than I have ever been. I’m not worried about looking like a fool because I know more and care less!!


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