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.