The Hardest Button to Button

The website is about 90% complete and I’m absolutely proud of it. It’s quick-loading, easy to navigate, and intuitive. It feels crazy that the early doodle I made in January has come along so well.

Before the weekend is over the website will only lack transcripts (Jon) and videos (Andrew B.), both of which have clearly defined  upload destinations.

The Hardest Button to Button

Digital Identity, or, I blog therefore I am

The first blog I read was “Personal Branding in the Age of Google.” Naturally I immediately googled my name.

I was disappointed.

I found that I could be an actor, felon, or possibly British. Since none of those were correct I added more details like my state of residence, middle initial, and finally my middle name.

As it turns out, I pop up on two websites; the first is a birth records index from California, and the second is my dearly departed grandmother’s genealogy project from 2003.

In other words, lesson 1, I don’t really exist.

The second article explained why this wasn’t such a bad thing.

“Controlling Your Public Appearance” affirmed that the lack of information was due primarily to how I’ve managed my digital presence over the last few years. My facebook is on lockdown, twitter is hardly used, and my ancient myspace, if it currently exists at all, was at least somewhat tasteful. Lesson 2, you have the (modest) power to be a nonentity.

If, someday, my facebook became a matter of public knowledge, I can rest assured that the only new information anyone will figure out (aside from that already available through my two search results) is that I have liberal leanings. That is (currently) not a crime, nor is it (currently) a bar to participating in public life. Lesson 3, some things are best left unsaid.

The “Digital Tattoo” was fun and interesting, but I need to put up two more lessons so here goes. Lesson 4, there’s no right way to exist digitally. There’s not really a wrong way either. Sending your account information to a Nigerian Prince or trusting a bombshell blonde you just met on facebook with your social security number are outright dumb, and dumb things are generally bad, but just as bad is refusing to exist digitally at all. This thought leads me to lesson 5; badges, likes, and upvotes are the cheapest way to get people to reveal things about themselves that they normally wouldn’t mention. Want an honest assessment of a person’s internet habits? Make a quiz and hand out badges, it’s like gold stars for first graders but it’s cheaper and gets more results.

What Am I Doing Here?

I’m not particularly technically literate. I pick up on concepts and instructions as well as the next over-aged college student, but site building intimidates me, twitter confuses me, and any form of coding has the rare quality of petrifying and boring me at the same time.

This is good. It means I’m no longer in my comfort zone.

The one thing I feel like I’m good at is primary research, and the topic at hand has a lot of potential for framing a complete picture with primary documents.

What am I doing here? I still don’t know, but I’m willing to find out.