Thursday, January 9, 2014

#anz23mthings Thing 13 Online identity


Online identity is something that it is worthwhile pondering over every now and again. I have had an online identity since the mid 1990s when I started getting involved in listservs.  In fact I am still actively involved in two such groups. These identities relate to archaeology and breast cancer. Every now and again I Google myself and am fascinated by the stuff that comes up ranging from my library publications and activities to membership of things such as LinkedIn and to a MySpace account I had once but haven't looked at in years.

One of the useful reminders I found in reading about this Thing was the fact that we often use Twitter, Facebook and Google signins to get to other sites.  I find it useful to review what sites have access via these accounts and to revoke that access if I feel it appropriate. Sometimes there is nothing I want to revoke but other times there is. 

Whilst in theory I knew this, I was taken by the description of the spectrum of identity: anonymous, pseudonymous, self-asserted, socially validated, officially verified. Yes, I do have all of those and a number of pseudonyms dating back for years.  One thing I have noticed recently is that a lot of sites/apps which had previously been pseudonymous now allow real names as well so I doubt that many people I know wouldn't realize who Polyxena really is and that she isn't a white cat. In fact, I have blogged about my use of that name here and appeared at quite a few library events with that Twitter moniker on my name tag.

Hecuba the Beautiful

I know some people strictly divide their professional and personal identities.  I have always chosen not to do that. I am a librarian, I have breast cancer, I am a breast cancer consumer advocate, I am a technology junky, I am into family and local history, I love to cook and create recipes. All of these elements are part of my real and my online identity. However, it is also true that I do have multiple identities on the web and different clumps of people who know about different parts of my life.  Once I would have said that LinkedIn did reflect mainly my professional identity but in more recent times people from other parts of my life have started joining and my contacts have become more diverse, though my cv and skills have remained geared to my professional career.

Despite this, I usually think quite carefully about what I post. I am often amazed at some of the very personal stuff people post openly on the web, but maybe that is to do with my being an introvert.   I usually have location turned off on my phone when I am taking photos and I tend to use FourSquare mainly when I am on holidays. However, there is certainly a lot of me out there on the web.

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