Do you consider your digital identity a separate self or is it identical to your real-world self #edcmooc

The question of digital identity as a separate self or identical to my “real self” was the most intriguing one to me from the list of questions posed for the week 3 twitter chat.

I have struggled somewhat with the difference between my digital and real selves. For faculty, there are inevitable questions about Facebook (should you be Facebook friends with students?) and Twitter (is what I’m tweeting “acceptable” or “professional”?).

My twitter feed, for example, is at the moment a collection of comments from professors (my professional identity), DC food trucks (a personal interest), priests (my Episcopalian identity), politicos (I follow my two Senators’ posts), and my university. Which followers care about which topics? Should I have separate twitter feeds for the professional and the personal? Or, do I present myself as the person I am with varied interests both professional and personal?

I think the question is not whether the digital self is the same as the real self, but rather how many digital “selves” do we have? I maintain a professional web page where you could learn about my professional life, but I wouldn’t say this encapsulates my whole self.

It’s a matter of representation in the end. Any representation is a limited perspective on the phenomenon (or person) it is trying to represent. It highlights some things and masks others. The line on the graph tells you some things, the equation gives other information. No digital self is the complete whole of the person just as we as people present different facets of our lives in different situations/contexts/settings – digital or otherwise.

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7 thoughts on “Do you consider your digital identity a separate self or is it identical to your real-world self #edcmooc

  1. Interesting point of view…. I don’t like to use Twitter of Facebook, because they kinda force me to mix all my “identities” at one web-page. I have deviant-art-account for my artworks, blogspot account for some thoughts about teaching and creativity, blogger blog (I started it earlier) for some more personal notes like funny fragments of conversations, and account at an web-site for freelance workers for professional purposes. If somebody really want, it is possible to find that there are the same “real identity” behind all this accounts. I do this not to hide some information, but because it is easier for me to manage information streams that way. There are also some points of intersections, like an email I use to keep track on all accounts mentioned above, but I can sort email in different folders etc., so the division remains.

  2. Not only people present different facets (both online and in the real world) but also people perceive us differently, so things that we try to highlight may not be understood by our “audiences” as important, while other, more insignificant views may cause a bigger impact on our surroundings.

  3. Pingback: Do you consider your digital identity a separate self or is it identical to your real-world self #edcmooc | The Odd is Silent

  4. Pingback: Do you consider your digital identity a separate self or is it identical to your real-world self? | The Odd is Silent

  5. The question of identity is nothing new. Humans have been trying to understand their identity since the dawn of time. What happens today is that people are more connected than ever to each other. Technology allows anyone to be a minor celebrity. Politicians are more transparent (and thus get in more trouble) and people to be more informed than ever.

    Masking your true identity is nothing new, any good super hero does it. Think about when you go on a first date. You are not really showing your date your true self and thus your true identity. I believe it was Chris Rock who said “When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them. You’re meeting their representative.”

  6. Pingback: Do you consider your digital identity a separate self or is it identical to your real-world self?

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