What Is Your Role Online?

On October 21st our class had the pleasure of hearing Bonnie Stewart @bonstewart present to our class about Networked Identities. This topic had me thinking and reflecting for the past week and a half. As Mark Zuckerberg discussed “back, you know, a few generations ago, people didn’t have a way to share information and express their opinions efficiently to a lot of people. But now they do. Right now, with social networks and other tools on the Internet, all of these 500 million people have a way to say what they’re thinking and have their voice be heard.” New technology and social media has changed how we communicate and express ourselves to the world. It has opened the doors to connect with so many people. I think it can be very exciting, but it also can lead to some misinterpretations. I believe now more than ever it is imperative to educate our students about digital citizenship and how they leave a footprint in the digital world. Students need to also learn how to keep themselves safe as well. Tammy Lee @tempeylee shared a video called Consequences: Assembly for 11 16 year olds with us on our Google Discussion page online. It is a very good video for middle year’s students and older students to view. We need to remember to keep personal information private to help protect ourselves. Many times we think that we are evincible and nothing would ever happen to us, but you cannot always guarantee that.

During Bonnie’s presentation she had many interactive slides that allowed for us to provide our feedback and reflect on different topics.  It is amazing that even though we are not in a face to face classroom setting that I was able to interact with my fellow classmates and learn from them as well.  While we were adding our opinions to a question on our chat Katia @kbhildebrandt said, “Lots of digital dualism coming out in this slide.”  That was the first time that I have ever heard of the term digital dualism.  Alec @courosa provided us with a link to a website about digital dualism.  I could see the point that the author Nathan Jurgenson was trying to get across. Jurgenson points out that, “Digital dualists believe that the digital world is “virtual” and the physical world “real.””  Technology is so ingrained in our daily lives that the virtual and physical worlds now overlap and Jurgenson argues that “the digital and physical are becoming increasingly meshed.”  I learned that many people see the physical world and the digital world being separate from one another, however, with social media now it connects people in both worlds.  The line of the separate worlds have now become smudged and they merge together with one another.  Do you think the virtual work and the physical world are separate or linked together?

The exciting part of our class is getting the opportunity to read fellow classmates blogs.  In one of Jennifer’s  blog posts @jstewiestewie she commented that, “As teachers we look at encouraging our students to be readers who are able to effectively interpret, summarize, analyze and synthesize what they read. But do we?” I think so many times adults skim the material and share without thinking the quality of the source and what is purpose behind sharing the post or story. Will sharing this it hurt others? Is the message true? Is it important to share this post? Many times the whole story is not told or maybe the story is only one sided, therefore, it is important to be critical thinkers while we are reading and what we are sharing.

In another blog by Jennifer she made the connections to the movie “The Breakfast Club” and social identity. I have never seen the movie before, but after reading her blog I want to watch it to see how social identity is portrayed. She mentions, “In today’s terms how have the roles changed? In the on-line world, what are the new roles? Could they be the: “Citizens”, “Trolls”, “Victims”, “Hackers”, “Users”, “Creators”, “Tweeters”,  and “Curators” …” Her comments and connections really had me thinking. What are the different roles that I have seen while participating in Social Media? Most importantly, what is my role online? I never heard some of the terms before like trolls until our class. I believe everyone cares about their identity and want to feel included. I’m glad that I did not have the pressure of an online identity when I was young. When I was young I know I made a lot of mistakes and I am glad the evidence of my mistakes are not living on the Internet. When I was in high school msn online chat was very popular and social networks were just getting started like MySpace and Hi5 where you create a profile. When I started my undergrad degree at the University of Regina I joined Facebook. I am glad I was older when I joined Facebook because being older allowed me to understand a bit more about the Internet and how information can be spread and shared with others. Even with being older I still needed some friendly reminders from my parents in how to keep safe. Facebook was one of the only Social Media accounts that I really used. Around last year I joined Pinterest and now this September I joined Twitter. You can followed me on Twitter @JNSteph 87.  I find I am usually the person who does not join things right away.  It even took me a while to join Facebook because I like to sit back and check them up first before I join.  While reading other classmates blogs I could relate to Andrew’s post because I am on Facebook everyday as well, but I do not post comments or update my status often. I like the opportunity to see how my family and friends are doing through looking at pictures and reading their statuses. I agree with Andrew that I think if it was not for this class I do not know if I would ever joined Twitter or the other different communities online either. Now that I have joined these online communities I am beginning to wonder what role I fit into when I am online. What does my online identity portray?  We all have a lot to offer to the world and we can learn so much through one another. What role to do see yourself in when you participate in online communities?  As Bonnie asked us, “What DO you want to contribute?” I think that is a very important question! Our professional identity is very important, but we can also contribute to the world in so many different ways.  What will you contribute to your family, friends, students, and communities that you belong to?

bonnie's presentation

(Photo Credit: I took this picture with my iPhone of Bonnie Stewart’s @bonstewart slide during her presentation that our ECI831 participated in.)

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