Digital Identity and Footprint

This week we focused on digital identities and how they are formed. One thing that I thought was important to know is how social networks allow us to engage with people around the world but also shape our digital identity. Online we have the opportunity to be whoever we want to be. We can have multiple identities and create a life that is totally different from what it is when we are off-line. Technology is a big part of our everyday life and we are all influenced by the media.

In Bozkurt and Tu’s article we learn about online social networks and how they affect digital identity formation and learning. I found it interesting that individuals enter a social network with their idealized identities or with their actual identities based on the social network environment they are in. Depending on how an individual feels about themselves they may try to change into something they wish they were. I feel like a lot of teenagers today feel more comfortable being behind a screen where they can be someone else in order to fit in with everyone. As we can see technology is everywhere and children are forming their identity at very early ages. The important thing to remember is that social networks can be beneficial in educational contexts. “Studies showed that SNSs support educational activities by allowing interaction, collaboration, active participation, critical thinking, information and resource sharing” (162). Social networks are useful because they allow for students to interact and communicate with their instructors. It can be used for formal and informal academic discussions which is also very helpful.

In the article “Who am I Online? Understanding the Meaning of Online Contexts for Identity Development, I thought it was interesting to learn more about adolescents’ identity development. One thing that stood out in this article is that online contexts allow the adolescents to explore parts of themselves they might not reveal in other contexts. I think it shows that oftentimes when adolescents are exploring a certain aspect of their identity online, they find meaning to it and then want to apply it to their overall identity. This article allowed me to see that people can develop their identity online and find something new that they didn’t know about themselves.

The last thing I want to talk about is Alec Couros’ TedTalk. I believe that we can help kids discover and experience the emerging possibilities of the Internet by talking to them about what it means to leave a digital footprint. Our digital lives are no longer separate realities. We need to teach people to learn more about how to empathize with others, and help them find ways to define themselves without caring what others have to say. At a young age, children should be guided and taught the risks of having profiles. They need to know the risk of publishing videos and pictures to the public.



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Arianna Delmoral

Student-Athlete at the University of Minnesota majoring Business and Marketing Education