#AcDigID, #EdDigID, #HEdigID

#HEdigID Twitter Chat: Let’s Talk About Our Networked, Digital Life, Higher Ed.

For the last couple of  years, I have been talking, researching and engaging with colleagues to figure out what it means to be a networked practitioner and/or scholar in higher ed. Based on a recent workshop and Twitter conversation (#acdigid chat), it is clear that being online feels different in 2018 than it did back in 2008 when I first started to really connect to other professionals in digital, social networks.  In an editorial I wrote for Inside Higher Ed last year, I ask questions about what it means to have a digital persona in academia, specifically these ones (slightly modified):

  • How does being part of a digital learning network support learning and development for higher ed professionals?
  • How are faculty and staff shaping their online identity and presence to share professional values, work, etc.?
  • How can does a networked community expand knowledge to enhance our roles on campus and the work we do?
  • Why might others higher ed professionals want to network with peers to scaffold their own career goals?

As these digital networks have scaled past the “social-media-is-just-a-fad” stage and they now influence more of our society in our daily lives. That being said, I think educators are considering how to be more thoughtful and consider HOW, WHERE, and IF, they should “be” in these public and open spaces. A number of college/university practitioners, scholars, and administrators have seen benefits to “working out loud” and being public intellectual in postsecondary. That being said, the repurposing of social media and digital platforms, has come with minimal institutional guidance and limited sociotechnical support (Pasquini & Evangelopoulos, 2017) and does appear to have ramifications for our personal/professional lives. A number of interviews with higher ed colleagues have just begun to identify the benefits, challenges, and future considerations for higher ed networked practices. And, of course, in talking to researchers, student affairs educators, early career researchers, academic advisors, senior administration, instructional designers, and other colleagues — it seems that we have even more questions and the need to continue these conversations among ourselves.

In a recent Twitter poll I put out this month, I tossed out the idea to host a SLOW (all day) Twitter chat ONE DAY per month for 2018. It seems like a few of you (at least 15) in higher ed, are interested in discussing your digital identity and “being online” or connected as a professional:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

So, let me introduce to you the…

Higher Ed Digital Identity Chat (#HEdigID)

We will connect on the SECOND FRIDAY of each month this year to have an open, honest conversation about being a higher ed professional who is connected and digitally engaged. Here’s the schedule, if you would like to #SaveTheDate:

February 9, 2018

August 10, 2018

March 9, 2018

September 14, 2018

April 13, 2018

October 9, 2018

May 11, 2018

November 9, 2018

June 8, 2018

December 14, 2018

July 13, 2018

Any and all post-secondary faculty, staff, professionals, scholars, practitioners, administrators, graduate students, and leaders (really anyone in higher ed) are encouraged to JOIN and CONTRIBUTE to the Twitter conversation. There will be a TOPIC, THEME, and PROMPTS to guide the Twitter Chat over the course of the day. This “SLOW” Twitter Chat (all day) is designed to encourage and allow our colleagues from across the pond, time zones, and busy work schedules to join in the dialogue. I am happy to moderate (MOD) the first few #HEdigID chats; however, I am also quite open to others who want to MOD and/or contribute an IDEA or TOPIC we should dig into online. Let me know!

#AcDigID, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, Social Media, SocioTech

Re-Evaluating My Digital Self

Over the past year (or longer), I continue to think more about my digital self. This should be no surprise, as I am currently researching higher ed’s networked practice and I facilitate a workshop a couple times year about what it means to be an academic and professional online in postsecondary education [Note: The NEXT #AcDigID Workshop Offering for grad students, early career scholars, academics, faculty & researchers is January 8-14, 2018 if your 2018 New Year’s resolution is to sort this out for yourself, please join in!]. Typically, at the end of the calendar year, some people like to look back at 2017, “in review.” You might read/write end of year blog posts with a top ____ list of highlights/happenings. Or perhaps you’ve joined in on the Instagram “best9” of 2017 photo montage posting. This year, I am doing something different. Thanks to conversations I’ve had with JeffPaul, Katie, Chris, and others both offline and recorded [on the @BreakDrink podcast check out episodes 5, 7, 10 & 13] in 2017 — I will be setting aside some of my winter break to examine what it means to be present and connected online for ME. My personal review might be less merry or bright as I examine what I’ve shared or exposed to data/information in digital life. Festive? I know. 🙂

It has to be done. I need to really take a hard look at my digital self. This personal online audit will help to clean up and prevent potential hacks; however, this time I am including bigger questions beyond use/activity — as I plan review platforms terms of service, digital rights, data access, digital security, data extraction, and, ultimately, outlining if there is a purpose/need for “being” in any of these virtual locations. As net neutrality rules are killed and social (+ other) media continue to scale, I have a lot more questions I need to think about for my own work, learning, and life. The last few years there has been a reckoning for social media — more than anyone once thought over a decade ago. “Facebook is just a college thing” and “Twitter is just a fad,” were some of the things once said. Who thought these social networks would impact how we learn, work, vote, share, and more?

My digital self “under review” is not only a result of my distrust in sharing over media, the Russian hack of social media during the US election or even my aversion to having any “smart speaker” in our home that records and gathers data each day. Nor is it the fact that I live with a cybersecurity professional or that Black Mirror‘s sociotechnical sci-fi drama offers an eerie foreshadow to what lies ahead of us in the not-so-distant future. I embraced online and a connect being for over a decade now, so there’s no wonder why my digital footprint has me grappling with issues of digital security, personal wellness, individual safety, and the privacy paradox of living/working in a connected world.Image c/o The WIRED Guide to Digital Security

That being said, the free and open collection of knowledge on social media cannot offer regular fact-checking or verified expertise. This is critical for those who are a part of this shared, collective community online. The future of knowledge can be misleading if we are letting these platforms guide us by the information we share and the interactions within the network. As Tim Berners-Lee stated in his open letter written about the internet, he is concerned we have lost control of our personal data, misinformation is easily spread on the Web, and online transparency and understanding are needed in political advertising [as well as other spheres online].

Lately, I have been struggling with how our society is entrenched and relies on technological platforms. My true concern for self-auditing my digital life is to understand more about the impact and influence I have let technology and platforms invade my everyday way of living. As a reminder, platforms are:

“digital infrastructures that enable two or more groups to interact… [and] bring together different users… with a series of tools that enable their users to build their own products, services, and marketplaces” (Srnicek, 2017, p. 43).

The reliance on online networks and digital platforms might be more problematic than we think. There seems to be much power owned by these digital platforms. For example, the digital curation website, Storify, plans to shut down and delete data by May 2018. Like a few of my peers, I too am questioning the use of services and accounts we don’t own or control. I understand why a growing number of higher ed and ed tech colleagues are thinking the same was as they trim their digital contribution on Twitter, close down their accounts on major social media platforms, like Facebook, and take by control of the web by creating a domain of one’s own.

For me, this virtual audit exercise will include and go beyond social networks and connected sites to also examine WHERE, WHY, and HOW I live/work digitally. I think it’s a critical time to reevaluate the platforms and technologies we are using, in general. Where the data is stored? Who has access to what? Who owns the rights to my created or uploaded content? Am I utilizing appropriate _____ platform/technology for my personal/professional life? Are there other means that are not “free” I should be considering? It’s not like I have not done this activity before — but this time it might mean that I took “break up” with a platform or connected sites. For 2018, I want to be more diligent with my personal data, private information and online “being,” to limit surveillance/tracking online and to align my own values and ethics with networks and platforms I use.

Reference

Srnicek, N. (2017). Platform capitalism. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Social Media

Digital Clean Up: Social Media Audit & How Not to Be Hacked

As a digital ethnographer and networked researcher, I tend to play in different social (media) spaces. I typically try out new websites and platforms that I hear about from other scholars, practitioners, and researchers. Most of you know I can be found in a few key social media spaces (I’m looking at you Twitter, WordPress, SlideShare & Flickr); however I do use a number of other social platforms to collect, archive, research, collaborate, and write.

2013.04.04_Cleanup_DataImage from responsys.com

Over the past week, I started conducting my own social media audit for what I use and how it’s being used. Part of this is process is to keep track of files and resources, and also think about what I’m sharing and using online. In being purposeful with social media and my web tools, I wanted to see what I am using or not using. Recently I have been cleaning up a few of my digital spaces, to take inventory and assess how I’m using these spaces personally and professionally.

For example, I updated a title on a LinkedIn employment role by adding “Graduate Student” to my Research Affiliate position for the Center for Knowledge Solutions (which I have been contributing for the last couple of years), and I received a number of “congratulations” for the “new” job:

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 11.47.33 AMThen I discovered my name had changed on my Delicious account. I use this account to archive my tweets & tags for what I share on Twitter, so I was surprised to find my new found love for “fun and enjoy with my friends” while advertising mature dating single websites:

Delicious HackThis was quickly fixed within hours thanks to the Delicious Team, and I’m back to my normal nerdy self on this social bookmarking website:

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 9.03.00 PM

This incident reminded me it was time to review my social media spaces to see what I use and what I need to lose. It is easy to take advantage websites like JustDelete.me to kill off your pages; however I wanted to take stock of what I am using and document how I am using it. To assess my digital footprint and identity, I started my own social media audit spreadsheet o’ fun with the following columns:

  • URL for the profile
  • recordupdate passwords
  • review account settings (privacy)
  • date activated
  • date terminated (if deleted or archived)
  • verify information is correct
  • update bio, picture, etc.
  • review platform access & connections
  • assess unused or less accessed social media spaces to delete
  • identify how these social media platforms are being utilized

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 12.50.53 PM

Have you conducted your own social media audit lately? If so, how have you review and cleaned up your online accounts on your various social media platforms? How do you keep track of what social media spaces you use? Please share any tips & tricks. Thanks!