After Tuesday’s discussion of digital identity, in an amazing bit of serendipity, Bon Stewart tweeted about her blog post on that very subject. She talks about creating a secondary identity for research purposes and then having to come to terms with what that meant. It’s interesting not just that it ties in so well with what we were talking about, but also in that it touches on what Melissa mentioned about stages of identity development.
The question about stages of digital identity development was brilliant. I wondered what kind of work had been done in that area. A quick scan of Google Scholar and general library resources shows a lot of work on the technical end, mainly dealing with security issues. There is some discussion going on in higher ed about it from a social perspective, but it appears to be a recent area of study.
Younger people, having grown up with the internet, have probably developed identities in real and virtual worlds more or less at the same time, in parallel. I suppose that’s where that execrable term “digital native” comes from. But I came to the internet as an adult, or as a young adult, depending on your theory of choice. I’m trying to remember what stages I might have gone through.
I’m reserved and cautious by nature, so I’ve mainly been a lurker online. My first ISP gave me the phb256 handle, based on my initials and whatever system they used for numbering. I liked that it was 2 to the 8th power, and suitably pseudononymous, so I’ve kept it ever since. Only recently, within the past five years or so, have I started putting myself out there. Since I was moving into academia, I thought it would be advantageous to have a more of an online presence. So now if you google me you can actually find me and not just boot makers and comedians. When I worked in K-12, I thought it would be better to have as little an online profile as possible. So I can see I’ve been evolving. I need to blog more, network more, and be more open in what I do, but I’m getting there.