An investigation into the identity of the one that many call ‘Reid’.

I was about six months off of being thirteen years of age when I first joined the website Facebook. I know what you’re thinking, ‘oh what a rebel, Facebook’s terms and conditions state users have to be thirteen years old to join Facebook’. This was in about 2009, I think, when Facebook was just growing and entering into the world-wide web. This became one of the starting points of the ‘Social Media Revolution’. I may be a rebel for joining at such a young age but really I wasn’t. My privacy settings were at the highest level on Facebook and I only added people who I had met in real life. This was the beginning of a scary but fun phenomenon that started my journey online and initiated my digital persona being put out into an unfamiliar territory.

I am known to society as a digital native because I was born into the realm of digital media. The video that is mentioned in the following tweet, puts into perspective what the nature of growing up in today’s society entails in comparison to what it was like growing up in previous times.

The term digital natives has become a generalised statement that is applied to anyone born in the previous three decades (including myself). According to Chalkley et al. (2015 p.291), digital natives are defined as people who are born in an era when ‘they have always had access to computers, digital files and online communities’. This term of digital natives was first introduced in Marc Prensky’s 2001 article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Prensky (2001) states that digital natives came to light as a notion of society for generations born after the 1980’s. They are “native speakers” of the digital language, where in comparison, those who were not born into the digital age are known as digital immigrants. The impression that is associated with the term digital natives often has confounding negative connotations associated with epidemics and issues associated with the use of digital technologies (i.e. childhood obesity and education scores being lowered). Due to the evolution of digital technologies, that is constantly changing, digital immigrants have to conform with the society of the digital natives. Prensky states that ‘no matter how much the Immigrants may wish it, it is highly unlikely [that] the Digital Natives will go backwards’.

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digital natives (https://flic.kr/p/68bCAWby Juan Cristóbal Cobo (CC-BY 2.0)

Being digital natives puts pressure on us, because we are constantly connected to these digital technologies, and we are constantly building on the “traditional” knowledge of the digital immigrants and are encouraging them to try these new technologies that are existent in today’s society. I get calls from my work all the time, and most of the time I feel like answering ‘Hello, tech support’. There has been a recent shift where younger generations are teaching the older generations to ‘produse‘ and ‘prosume‘ in the digital age.

The terms produse and prosume (and subsequently produser and prosumer) were first introduced by Bruns & Scmidt (2011). Bruns (2011) asserts that there is a hybrid connection that we can no longer just engage in either one of ‘usage or production’ and ‘consuming and producing’. But simply, they are intertwined in the digital age, thus forming the terms produser (derived from the words production and user, defined as a ‘collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement’)(Bruns & Schmidt 2011) and prosumer (derived from the words producer and consumer, defined as a buyer and seller building upon and designing information that is vital to production and sales) (Toffler as cited in Bruns & Schmidt 2011, p.4).

One’s online identity is a representation of ‘self’ in a community of built-up networks. We are simply presenting a ‘character‘. I say character, because quite often many people are fearful to portray the ‘real me’ online and present an alias (The Oxford Dictionary defines alias as: ‘A false or assumed identity’). Brown (2015, p.221) refers to the idea of the post-structuralist conception, and acknowledges that we are to reject the notion of having a singular identity, but rather the ‘true self’ is constructed as ‘multiple selves’.

Final Twin.jpg
‘Twin’ Photo taken and edited by Reid Morris, October 2011

This ideal of multiple selves is consistent with Kim’s (2015) view that as our online usage and engagement increases, our lives online and in reality are becoming increasingly blurry to separate. My online identity is created with both realistic elements as well as some things having a sense of anonymity. Up until recent years, every profile I have created, has always gone under the alias of ‘rmsmartboy’ (don’t ask me about where this came from, it’s just another example of those embarrassing junior high school years). I still use this alias occasionally but very rarely. I really only use this alias for my online associations that I don’t want public, for instance, my personal Facebook. Most of the time I now go under either ‘ReidCMorris’ or ‘ReidMorris’, especially on my professional profiles, like Twitter, LinkedIn or About.me.

It is important for me to distinguish between what I want to make public and private, as my future employers will most likely be looking into the social media and the image that I have portrayed on social media.

Did you know!

Approximately 40% of employers check a candidate’s social media profile before employing them. Only 19% of hiring managers that view a candidate’s social media profile, actually employ that person based on their social media profiles whereas in comparison 43% of hiring managers, denied employment to those that didn’t have a professional standard to their social media profiles. (Anon 2014)

Entering into the teaching profession in the future, is very intimidating. Not only, will I have my employers looking at my social media profiles, I will also have the students I teach, searching for me. My knowledge and experience shows, that approximately 70%+ of all students will Google Search (or use another search engine) a teacher that they have, especially now that multi-modality and Information and Communication Technology (I.C.T) are incorporated into curriculum and in the classroom.

Students love metaphorically ‘digging up dirt’ on teachers, especially those embarrassing posts from the ‘old days’. A perfect example is shown here between the celebrity culture of my #ALC203 teachers:

If you have clicked the hyperlinks, and looked at my online profiles, you would notice that one image is symbolic across all of the profiles. This image:

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Photo of Me on ANZAC Day 2015

was taken on ANZAC Day of 2015, at the ceremony that I hosted at my work. I use this image for my professional identity because I feel it expresses my professionalism as well as allowing me to reflect and show pride in my history and genetics, because I was wearing my grandfather’s medals (he fought in WWII). I absolutely hate having my photo taken, as many of my friends and family know, but this image is one that I actually really like and perhaps if this wasn’t my profile picture, my dog Ernie (now deceased) would probably still be my profile picture.

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‘Ernie’, photo taken by Reid Morris, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

This is how I present myself online, and will continue to present myself online into the future. (The below infographic portrays my online journey.) My journey in ALC203, so far has led me to create this blog, in which you are reading right now, it has also allowed me to explore different elements of new websites, such as About.Me and WordPress.

Here are some links to previous blog posts that I have created in ALC203:

The intercommunicative selfHave you been breaking the law? (relating to Creative Commons and Copyright and VCE Media Studies: Teaching Media Studies 1.0 (my opinion on the VCE Media Studies current curriculum).

My Online Journey
My online journey, created using Canva

That’s all for now, don’t forget to check out my socials –> Links on my About Me page.

References

Anon 2014, “The Role Of Social Media In Pre-Employment Candidate Screening– Statistics And Trends”, Go-Gulf, viewed 22 April, 2016, <http://www.go-gulf.com/blog/social-media-pre-employment-screening/>.

Brown, A 2015, “Navigating Social Media”, in T Chalkley, M Hobbs, A Brown, T Cinque, B Warren & M Finn (ed.), Communication, Digital Media and Everyday Life, 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp. 217 – 229.

Bruns, A & Schmidt, J 2011, “Produsage: a closer look at continuing developments”, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 3-7.

Chalkley, T, Hobbs, M, Brown, A, Cinque, T, Warren, B & Finn, M 2015, Communication, digital media and everyday life, 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

Kim, B 2015, “The popularity of gamification in the mobile and social era”, Library Technology Reports, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 5 – 9.

Prensky, M 2001, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1”, On the Horizon, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 1-6.

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Hey there Reid,
    It is definitely an interesting concept to address (that of the digital native), in that it seems now, and on into the future no doubt, the way in which we are perceived in the digital realm and across technological social media-related platforms will become an ever-greater portion of how we see our personal identities come to be made up. As you point out, the children of today are indeed being born into an environment (on the most part, that is) within which they are growing and learning/building/grasping a sense of their identity as people, while also simultaneously doing this in the public media sphere. This will become, it seems an ever-greater component of our identity. Something which is still at these early stages, a fairly bizarre and overwhelming thought at times!!
    Kind regards,
    -James.

    Like

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