Five Things I Learned About My Digital Identity

  1.  My digital identity did not look the way I expected it to.  Every few years, I check up on it, and the last time I can remember doing so, about all that showed up was my high school graduation and my facebook.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this time around, the first few entries were about my achievements at college like an announcement about scholarship winners, and my internship diary for the UMW history page.
  2. It’s best to keep the digital platforms you can control up to date.  I looked at my Domain of One’s Own as an outsider would, and I really noticed how much maintenance it needed.  Until I fix it, I really hope no one stumbles across it, because there’s a lot that I want to do with it, I just forget that it’s something I should pay attention to.  If you acquaint yourself with the version of you the world can see, you’ll be better able to make sure it’s the version you want to present.  Especially in light of frequently changing privacy settings, this can be helpful to ensure that you aren’t suddenly posting something to a platform that you thought was private but is now public.
  3. I was really struck by the articles that discussed the way your information was being watched and used.  The extreme personalization of adds really freaks me out.  I found the articles discussing ways to minimize this (ad personalization in google, facebook, and amazon) very helpful.
  4. Networks can be really powerful, and not always in negative ways.  This weeks readings have given me the impulse to delete everything I can and try to hide from the unknown eyes as effectively as is possible.  But as that’s not an option, and it’s less draining to think about the benefits of the digital age.  I know I’ve often been in situations where who I know can be of real material benefit to me.  So the maintenance of digital networks can be extremely beneficial.
  5. I’ve made little progress on thinking about how to control my identity on something so vast and incomprehensible as the internet.  I’m mostly just filled with a nagging sense of fear and gloom.  I am someone who genuinely values privacy, even within my ostensibly private life.  In class we discussed the future of legislation regarding privacy on the internet.  This was my only hopeful takeaway.  At some future point, I may be able to exercise my right to vote in favor of laws that more thoroughly establish my control over my own digital identity.

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