As part of my participation in Open Network Learning 161 MOOC, I am pausing to reflect on who I am online. This is quite serendipitous, because I am also working part time as a sessional academic for the subject ‘Social Technologies’ in the Bachelor of Information Technology at Queensland University of Technology, and one of the students’ first tasks is to blog about their online identity also.
I have a pretty unique name; I think I am the only Kay Oddone in Australia; and so online when you ‘google’ me, I pop up pretty quickly. Thankfully everything that pops up is all professional – I have tied down my ‘personal’ life quite tightly, as I made the decision quite early on to limit my online presence to my professional life.
Having signed up to Twitter in 2007, and blogged on and off since that time also, I have had time to develop my online persona, and also to experiment with many different tools and social media networks.
Online I try to develop a persona that is professional and yet still reflects who I am as a person. I prefer an informal approach to blogging and tweeting, yet am always conscious of the fact that I am publishing to an audience. Some of my blog posts have been used as professional reading in university courses across the United States and Canada, and as a teacher at heart, I aim to share what I know in an accessible yet accurate way.
You can find me in lots of different places online. I usually use a limited number of photos of myself as my avatar, so that I am identifiable across networks – my ‘brand’ so to speak. I lock down my Facebook account to close friends and family only, and have a separate Pinterest account for my personal interests, just so I can feel that I have something that is ‘for my eyes only’ (even though others can see it, it is disassociated from my name so it feels private anyway).
I maintain a public Pinterest account for curating and sharing resources to support my blog posts and conference presentations. I share on Slideshare, have been bookmarking to Diigo since about 2008 and Tweet quite prolifically. When I go to conferences and events, I curate what is shared in my Storify account. I recently retired my old Linking Learning blog to take up this new one when I began studying at the beginning of the year, but before that I was responsible also for almost all of the blog posts on the ResourceLink blog, which I created about 5 years ago, and authored for my place of employment. When I look back I’m pretty proud of the volume of work that is shared on that blog!
I use Linked In only because I feel that I ‘have to’….You kind of need to have a place for your CV, and it lives there…but I don’t actively network on Linked In. I just…exist there. For me, I think a more exciting way to get to know what I do and think professionally is not only via my blog but also via creative spaces like my profile on Canva – where I love creating infographics and other images.
Google Plus is an interesting space; I really enjoy using it for participation in online courses, such as ONL161 and #clmooc, yet it is not a space that I just ‘hang out’ in, like I do in Twitter…and while Reddit is a popular ‘hang out’ spot, I usually use this just as a source of reading and entertainment; and contribute very little.
I went through a phase where I used Flipboard quite extensively, and created quite a few curated magazines there, but I haven’t done so recently. Just as clothes come in and out of fashion, so do tools, and sometimes I feel I have a pretty short attention span!!
So what is my identity online if you took an overall snapshot? I would like to think it is of an active participant, sharing, remixing and re-distributing knowledge, creating new understandings from the wise people I meet online and quite happy to meet, chat, network with others. This contrasts with my real life self, where I actually find small talk challenging and face to face networking a little overwhelming. I am very bubbly and happy, and most people would not say I am not shy at all, but when all is said and done, I’d rather send an email than speak with someone face to face if I don’t know them!! Social media has given me a platform to share and learn from people all over the world from my little house in Australia; and I intend to take full advantage of it!