The chronicles of my digital identity

Past: !~<3 [*J@ck*] <3~! {EnTeR 2o0o’S sOnG lYrIcS hErE} 

MSN messenger contact list screenIn a much simpler time, maybe because of the lack of digital communication and maybe because I had no real responsibilities as a 12-year-old, I distinctly remember the birth of my digital identity in grade 7 (2000). I had just moved to Regina and upon one of my first sleep overs, I was introduced to the world of MSN messenger. Before this, I had only used a computer at home to type up (more like hunt and peck) book reports. With a brief brainstorming session on what my email address/identity should be, I settled for jack_e88 (not bad, right?!). It wasn’t long before my fingers were flying on the home row in the computer room until late into the night. As the ‘new kid’, MSN messenger was the bridge and bonding piece to many of the friendships I made and had well into young adulthood, so in that sense I am very grateful. I was completely oblivious to the concept of digital citizenship or any of the potential dangers of my newfound identity – I was too focused on connecting with others and navigating the netiquette of the MSN messenger platform. There also certainly was no guide for my parents, which I think about as a parent now. I often wonder how my identity was influenced and impacted by my digital presence and the technologies available to me throughout my formative years. Anyway, happy 23rd birthday to my digital identity – one of the only things as a 35-year-old that I may have in common with a 23-year-old today…Funny giraffe party animal making a silly face


Since then, my digital identity evolved to using a cell phone that I shared with my mom until I got my own in grade 11 (2005) (can you imagine sharing a phone with your kids now-a-days?!), making a Facebook account in my first year of university (2007), making an Instagram account right before my first year of teaching (2012), and shortly after making a Snapchat account (2013).  

Present: just for me/mom/teacher/student 

the different hats a woman wears in societyAs I settle into each of the major roles in my life, I find that I lean into technology in a transhumanistic way to let each role shine in their own way. In some aspects of my identity, such as my teacher identity, I try to find new avenues for delivering content, having students produce content, etc. Yet, in other aspects like my personal use for social media, I find that I  share less and less about myself because I don’t feel the need to do that anymore, other than for nostalgia’s sake of seeing picture and video memories of my kids, dog, family members, unlike my 2007, oversharing, Facebook self. Rather, I will share content I view that speaks to things I care about, like advocating for teachers or human rights, etc. I wonder sometimes if it is digital identity maturity that leads me to share less and less of my personal life or digital identity fatigue in that I am using a large chunk of my digital identity energy in the teaching aspect of my identity. I would venture to guess it is a little bit of both.

Although two months ago I was ignorant to digital citizenship, I did consider how my life, which has become ever reliant on technology (specifically my phone, much to Sherry Turkle’s chagrin), is digitally responsible in terms of:

  • the economic advantage and turmoil of buying and selling online. Financially, buying my groceries online and items on marketplace allows me to stick to a budget in a time where buying strawberries can bankrupt families, but I also consider how the convenience of digital commerce effects local and global economy structures and globalization in both a good and bad way
  • how I conduct myself online as a parent, teacher, individual, etc. I try to keep my digital identity professional and responsible (there are enough cringe worthy moments in my digital timelines, so I’m just trying to balance them out!)
  • most importantly for me, I am focused on keeping my digital consumption healthy because I know how important that is for my overall digital identity and overall health 

Future: same same, but different?

There is no telling where the future of technology is going to go, so it is difficult to predict how it will shape and shift my digital identity. I want some aspects of my present digital identity to remain, but I also want to grow and shift! A few things I hope for in my future digital identity are:

  • continue staying up-to-date on technological trends and using tech creatively in the classroom for the sake of advancing my teaching skills for myself and so I am speaking the same language as the students (as well as allowing them to explore new opportunities)
  • wiser screen time use
           -modelling the behaviour I want for my children as they begin to shape their own relationship with technology and digital identities, as Curtis mentioned in his video
           -my personal time (just for me) is sparse, so I want to spend that time a little more wisely. Don’t get me wrong, I learn a lot of things on Tik Tok, but I also need to get outside or hop on the treadmill so my phone isn’t the only thing regulating my central nervous system
  • reasonable extension theory practice
           -use technological communication to have meaningful virtual interactions, which Boellstorff suggests (as noted by Gui) is “profoundly human”
          -I also want to use tech to have meaningful in-person interactions as well now that I know about the 9 elements of digital citizenship
          -talking to students, my own kids, family, and friends about them (and being the conversation starter rather than waiting for it to come up or not)
         -even for conversations like Roxanne prompted about who’s voices are being digitally heard or represented and the intersectionality of cultural identity and digital identity
         -why couldn’t I organize a family tech night at my school or design/develop a digital literacy elective course as Connected Learning Alliance suggests?! (fun fact: I am focusing on one of these for my final project) 

Thanks for reading and let me know if anything here resonated with you or if you have any differing thoughts or experiences than I’ve noted.




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