Seems like a logical place to begin.

Oliver Ertzscheid, et. al. suggest as a starting point:

"A digital identity is made up of the sum total of digital traces relating to an individual or a community: “profile” traces corresponding to what I say about myself (who I am); “browsing” traces showing which sites I visit, comment on or buy from (how I behave); and finally, written or declarative traces – what I publish on my blog, for example – which directly reflect my ideas and opinions (what I think)."

Who I am, how I behave, what I think... Those are a lot of different aspects of varying contextual relevance and priority. A very mixed bag of possibilities to consider. Given that, as we proceed through this week of exploration, let's allow our definitions of Digital Identity to retain some flexibility as we go. We'll use a hypothes.is group (annotation application) to share our questions and thoughts with each other on the Ertzscheid, et al. text. I'll send a link to the group by e-mail.

Photo by Rick Mason / Unsplash

That said, in your own experience, what are the forms of digital identity that you are likely to cite first? Social media presence? Netflix playlists? Amazon purchases? Published blog posts? Academic papers and presentations? What's App messages? E-mail? Zoom calls? There are so many mundane tasks and commitments that now run via digital platforms that it's challenging to know where to begin.  My suggestion is to pick one area like academic publishing or gaming habits or social media and then list

  • Where are you active?
  • Which tools/platforms do you use when?
  • Which social circles are you participating in by using them?
  • How much time is spent on different tasks/platforms?
  • What is your history with the tool/platform? What have you learned?
  • Which questions are missing here?

By peeling back the layers on our various digital entanglements we begin to appreciate both the complexity and extent of our many traces across the web. Our questions around control and ownership of our data are complicated by the less than easy to decipher terms of service we click on in order to be able to use a service. There's so much we don't know about how our data is used, shared, sold and mined while we, at the same time create and contribute value to our communities via digital means. If you're inclined, please share the results of your investigation on SeeSaw or in our Discussion forum for Day 1.

As we look at our personal and professional digital habits this week, I hope we will find ways to consider the bargains we enter to serve our students, our institutions our varied communities and ourselves in the best ways possible. Looking at both digital opportunities as generously as we consider the costs and risks will be an ongoing tension throughout the week.

I had the opportunity to engage Chris Gilliard of Digital Redlining fame in a structured dialogue about digital identity. He makes some interesting points about his learning, his concerns and his gains related to digital identity.

You can listen to that conversation here.

The prompts for the conversation were:

  • Tell me something you've learned about digital identity.
  • Tell me a concern you have regarding digital identity.
  • Tell me an enthusiasm you have about your online life.
  • Tell me something that makes you smile.

There's an opportunity here. Throughout the week, we will have a few occasions to practice structured dialogues with a partner or partners from the course. This is the first. You can find instructions for structured dialogues here. Speaking and listening to sharpen and clarify our thinking, one step at a time.