The Importance of Digital Indentity

I already had some familiarity with looking at digital identity constructively. In a project I did recently in another class I examined blogging and as a piece of that I looked at the way Mary Washington students and staff, as well as others shape their digital identities. This exercise pushed those thoughts I have already been forming further into understanding digital identity.

1 Digital Identity needs to start young

I’ve heard it before but in Will Richardson’s article,“Footprints in a Digital Age”,  he put it blatantly that he worried about his young children’s digital identity. I’ve always thought that collage age and up is when people really start structuring their digital identities purposefully it surprised me that we should think about from early childhood.


2 With the internet people can find anything

In the Wired article about Evan Ratliff I was surprised just how much information people could find on him. The collective “everyone” always tells you to be careful what you have online because it can always been found however I never understood how deeply this “everything” went. (How do you find someones cat sitter for instance?)


3 Google has the power

The majority of the time when someone goes to look you up they plug your name into Google and see what comes up. This is a continual process that I have been a part of too. When I got my random college roommate freshman year the first thing I did was google her and was concerned because I found almost nothing. The blog post, Personal branding in the age of Google reaffirmed this feeling. When you want to hire someone you Google them whatever comes up gives you an instant opinion of a person.


4 It is important (and necessary) to build networks

In “Footprints in a Digital Age” there is a discussion about how not only are networks important but the way we shape them as well. I particularly felt that the concept of creating a network that challenges you to grow and gives you other view points was an important point. It can be easy to form a comfortable network of praise online but listening to opposition can be productive in some ways.


5 Control over your digital identity is important.

Prior to this assignment I had already come to this conclusion through the other articles and discussions I have had with people.  The articles however served to further confirm my opinion. How you use digital identity and how others perceive you is important. It gives potential employers and total strangers a snapshot into who you are and making sure you are the author of that image is increasingly important.

Creative Commons & Wikipedia

Look at the History and Discussion tabs of several Wikipedia history entries and write about what you see. 2) Consider what Creative Commons License you might use for your own site.  What role does copyright play in the resources you are working with this semester?

I looked into several different history entries on Wikipedia to get a sense of how active those pages are and what most of the editing involved for those topics. Since I already had some practice editing Wikipedia I have a decent understanding of how administrators deal with newly updated content and the processes of how to make contributions to pages.

One of the interesting points I noticed was the varying levels of seriousness in the discussions on content in the talk pages for each articles. There were sections that contained heated debates right next to sections on reasons for removal or grammar arguments. For instance on the talk section for Sun Yat-sen there was a grammar question on how his name should be shorted when discussing him throughout the page. One of the contributors suggested using “Yat-sen” whenever he was referenced. However another reviewer brought up that “Yat-sen” was his first name and it is standard both in Chinese and English writing to primarily refer to an individual by either their full or last name.

Another page I looked into had an interesting perspective on sources. Wikipedia articles often have a series of sources for the information presented. In an article on the Great Leap Forward one editor wrote about trying to diversify the sources for quotes that the article uses. Noting that all of the quotes seem to be coming from the same print source, they suggest trying to check those quotes in other sources just to maintain the credibility of those sources.

In terms of Creative Commons licensing as a group we would need to come to a consensus on what type of licensing we should use for our site. We should also discuss with Luisa Dispenzirie about any expectations the National Park Service might had in terms of licensing. The diaries are of course currently public domain however since the Park Service are in charge of the diaries they may have an opinion or a standard procedure on copyright that we should be aware and respectful about. However I speculate that we will probably use a Creative Common license in the end, and one that is more restrictive than the least restrictive license that Creative Commons offers.