I came across a fascinating post a few days ago. The author, Remco Janssen, premised the post on a simple yet daunting question: “Who are you online?” Janssen explored the concept of one’s “digital identity.” The post got me thinking, naturally, about who I am online.
I read through Janssen’s article a few times to explore the questions posited in the post; however, I decided to explore my digital identity even further. I was particularly interested in exploring who I am online from a professional standpoint. Technically speaking, I am still a student; however, I recognize the necessity of carrying myself professionally, especially since reputation is highly relevant in any profession, my chosen field (law) being no exception.
Janssen suggests the professional aspect of one’s digital identity is “easy to understand.” This is so, for instance, because “[i]t says so on your Linkedin bio.” At first blush that made sense to me, but then I realized aside from Linkedin, which seems to me to be a passive online networking venue, I also engage in conversations with professionals more actively online on Twitter. So, is my professional online digital identity really that simple to decipher? Granted, I use Twitter for professional discussions, but I also express some personal (comedic, philosophical, political, mundane) views. “Personal” is another one of the three categories of one’s digital identities Janssen notes.
It is fascinating, then, to see how the three categories of one’s digital identity blend together to form an “e-dentity.” Some of the professionals I network with on Twitter, I am also connected with them on Linkedin. Of course, there are posts I would never share on Linkedin that I have no problem sharing on Twitter. I view the former site as strictly professional, while the latter, to me, is more a mixture of personal and professional. I keep certain posts off Linkedin not to be elusive, but because it simply does not feel right for me to share that information in that particular setting. Just like I wouldn’t say certain things in front of my parents for concern about appropriateness (personal), I don’t share certain posts on Linkedin (professional).
Ultimately, who I am online is a mixture of what I choose to share, where I choose to share it, and with whom I share it. So, tell me, who am I online?