Book Review, Digital Literacy, Reflections

Under Surveillance: Privacy, Rights, and Those Capitalizing On Us

“I don’t care who sees or reads what I post online. I am an open book — I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Have you heard this before? This is a common response I usually hear when talking with a students, staff, and faculty in higher ed about their personal data and privacy online. Not all take this stance; however, most feel like it is almost too late to take back what is already available and online — this includes their identification, their behaviors, and more. Have we past the point of no personal data return for what we share online?  Are there things we should be thinking about our digital behaviors? Have we thought about how to optimize privacy on these portable computers we bring everywhere — our phones? Is digital privacy possible?

This is a topic I’ve written and spoke about before, as I often feel caught in the privacy paradox in my own digital life. Earlier this year I have began auditing where and how I take up digital real estate. I don’t think giving away our personal data for a “free service” or online account is a fair trade. I have thought more about the fine print in the terms of services for a number of my social media and digital accounts, especially controlling who can collect my data and in “opting out” to control who might use my personal information. This is really important as we see more companies gobble up social media sites and grow their own data collection business based on online information they can find — I’m looking at you Facebook and Google. Whether you share a product on Instagram or tweet about an event, these companies are interested in scooping of this information.

You can go nowhere unseen… We found this ‘camera’ on a window pane in a small staircase to the attic, in the most remote corner of an abandoned hospital.
Flickr image c/o Fabian https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapsi42/3925435964/

I just finished reading Shoshana Zuboff ‘s latest book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, where she defines surveillance capitalism as “a new economic order that claims [private] human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales.” This is directly connected to our digital behaviors, such as our clicks, views, impressions, and even who we are. We share a vast amount of information accessed through our social media accounts, mobile apps, digital platforms, and smart devices — ask your personal digital assistant, Alexa, Siri, and/or Google Home all about it.

In the privacy camp, you can find a number of postsecondary colleagues and learners who are concerned about protecting their personal data and digital information. Similar to others online, most want to know how to maintain digital control of their data and manage their online reputation. Just over 60% of Americans WOULD  LIKE to do more about their privacy; however, their social media use is mostly unchanged since 2018 and I suspect most would value the cost of privacy at $0. Do you think people would pay to protect their information? Who would pay to use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. if it meant more control of who uses their data? I have my doubts that many would actually pay to use apps and social technologies.

Last year, negative impacts of the personal digital life included connectedness overload, trust tensions, personal identity issues, and failing to focus. Privacy, data collection, and surveillance are loaded issues. They are not issues we can tackle on our own. It can be so overwhelming for any one of us to deal with. This needs to be a collective movement for change in society — this might include efforts to push for accountability from technology giants, pushing for regulation, demanding specific privacy standards, and encouraging more of us to change our own behaviors so our actions are not feeding into the business opportunities of surveillance capitalism and data collection. We need to do more than just secure our own data. We need to work on ways to secure all of our personal data and identify standards that block opportunistic actions from technology companies.

Choosing to not use these tools, devices, or platforms is not a viable option to solve this problem. Data security and information collection impacts everyone. Whether you are active on a digital platform or opting out, there are pieces of data and information connected to you in some shape or form. Surveillance and data collection is so ubiquitous that we often take it for granted (Lewis, 2017).  Privacy is less of a paradox, and more of a fact of life, whether we like it or not:

“We can’t buy rooms at the panopticon hotel and then complain about the surveillance.” The internet cliché “You are the product” is wrong, argues @DKThomp. We are neither products nor workers in surveillance capitalism’s quest for data. We are a passive source of raw material—a field to be harvested, or a mountain to be strip-mined. To counter the “nothing to hide” quote that started this post, Zuboff thinks: “If you have nothing to hide, then you are nothing.”

Take a listen to the Crazy/Genius podcast episode to hear more of their conversation: Why Should We Care About Privacy?

Want to hear more about privacy, data and surveillance? Check out these past podcast episodes:

References:

Lewis, R. (2017). Under surveillance: Being watched in modern America. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. New York, NY: PublicAffairs.

Digital Literacy, Needs Assessment, Networked Practice, privacy, Reflections, technology

My Digital Audit: Where Do I Want to Be Online?

Do you know how much we weave social media platforms and online technology companies into our daily lives? Would it be possible to not live with Google, Facebook, Apple or other technology companies? It’s been something I have been thinking about for a while (like others), and often how much do we test these questions in the wild. If you have not seen the technology blocking experiment conducted by @Gizmodo‘s reporter, Kasmir Hill, you should. Kahsmir tries to take on and live without the technology giants, Amazon, Facebook (which includes owned companies, Whatsapp & Instagram), Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Impressive, right? But is it impossible? Even if you don’t plan to say, “Ciao!,” to these platforms this “Goodbye Big Five” investigation and hands-on reporting will inform you about how much we let these companies invade (most) of our lives, take our money, use our data, and capture our attention.

It is far too easy to sign up or sign on to websites, apps, and platforms with a simple click. No need to read those terms of service agreements. Nah! Also, all you need is my email, mobile phone number or one of those big tech accounts to sign up (e.g. Facebook, Google or Twitter), than why not join? Apps and social media platforms want to make our online user experiences fluid and seamless — which also allows the same platforms and apps to track your digital movement and access your personal data through your connected accounts.

Image c/o Vitor Sá: https://www.flickr.com/photos/virgu/12496426/

For the past 6 years, I have been doing an alright job of tracking of my digital life and auditing where/how I am online. I use a simple spreadsheet to itemize the account name, log in, information, connected accounts, purpose, and more for this digital audit. If interested, here’s a blank spreadsheet you can copy/download to use as you review your apps and online accounts yourself:

Digital/Web Audit TEMPLATE

That being said, it has been a while since I have given it a proper review to include where my personal data lies and maybe the social media apps, online accounts, and forgotten sign-ins that I have not really examined as closely. It is no longer easy to use JustDelete.me and a delete button to remove your data from online accounts. Our existence online is more complex and often woven into one another between the platforms we use and the shifts in these mediums. Maybe I have grown up a bit, but so have these digital platforms, and I’m not so sure they have matured into the tech adults I would like them to be. Here are a few platforms concerns with and why I’m considering closing a few of my own social media spaces, just to name a few:

Beyond policies, practices, and costs, I was trying to determine where I want to “live” online and what it means now that some of these platforms have merged or have experienced new management change. Back in January, I facilitated a workshop about managing your digital identity and being a professional online in higher education. Some of the big questions I challenge participants to reflect about as they consider their online self and where they want to be include:

  1. Why do I want to share my knowledge and expertise? What interests me about “being” online and maybe even connected to my peers?
  2. Where do you want to be online? How do I want others to find and connect with me?
  3. What digital/social platforms would be best for how and what I want to share? Where will I find my professional networks online?

I shared how my own digital presence or “being” online has evolved. Although I used to be in a log of social and digital spaces, that is not the case anymore. A number of platforms have been deactivated (RIP Google Reader & Delicious). While others might have been just a platform to test out or try on. That being said, if something does not resonates with me or find a purpose in my digital life, than I’m okay to say goodbye. So, if any digital space or online place does not “bring you joy” (hat tip to the digital #MarieKondo practice), maybe it’s time to bid farewell. Here is the main focus of my personal digital and data audit:

Where do I want to be online?

Some of my digital self review has been going on for a while, but this year is the year to finish and probably shut down a few social media platforms and online accounts for good. Permanently. It’s time to simplify my streams and declutter my social (media) life. I have started the process and initiated the review of the audit spreadsheet to determine what accounts are active and to itemize what is happening online. Here are a few things I did to start this digital and data audit of me:

  1. Unsubscribe: I used Unroll.me to start the initial clean up and unsubscribe of email lists, advertising, listservs, and duplicate groups/listservs from all my email accounts (personally/professionally).
  2. Revoke/Remove Connections: By logging into your social media platforms, online apps, and digital accounts, you might see you have granted 3rd party access to other applications/users/accounts — remove said things.
  3. Identify the Accounts Where Your Personal Information Lies: Using the various emails, I used Deseat.me to get a list of my accounts and apps that I have signed up for to identify and delete the ones I am not using OR to add these to my digital/web audit spreadsheet to track. This method offers a GDPR message template (thanks, EU GDPR!) to send a template email to the platform administrator to remove yourself from online and social media accounts. This might (and does) require follow up messaging, emails, and sometimes confirmation contracts to remove your information and personal data from certain accounts. It might take some time to get responses and confirmations for deleting yourself from various platforms, communities, or online programs (I know. I am in week 4 of this process.)
  4. Download Your Personal Data: For the accounts and platforms you are thinking about deleting, consider downloading your account data. This might be an archive of activity, posts, etc (e.g. Facebook). Or it could be a files, images, and other items within each account (e.g. Flickr). Part of this download may require you to determine storage elsewhere, such as, in another cloud-based service OR external hard drive (or both). Figure out the how much of data and your use of it, to determine your next steps.
  5. Delete Yourself: Depending on your goals, you may just want to wipe your accounts online to remove all that is there. There are a few guides to get yourself off the grid to get you started. Deseat.me will remove your data and delete some of your accounts, but you will need to visit each account/platform you have to manually complete the deletion process. Check out these suggestions for finding/deleting accounts from the Internet, a list of “how to” delete yourself from social media platforms, and suggestions for deleting (or locking down) your Facebook and Instagram accounts.
The above is just a start — but I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on, ironically, offline and online to audit my digital and data self. Let me know if you have suggestions, resources, or ideas for this review process. I would love to hear how your own audit, review, and reflections are going if you are pondering the same thing.
#AcDigID, #EdDigID, #HEdigID, Social Media, SocioTech

Networked Practice: My Book List

For some of my own research and review, I have been accumulating a variety of books to my reading list for the networked practice study. Some deal with living online, being connected, and even understanding how communities, networks, and groups thrive (or the opposite) in the digital. For the month of January, I have been taking stock and reflecting on my own networked practice. Recently I facilitated an online workshop to support higher education faculty and staff think more about their digital presence and how to manage their own reputations online. Now my current students are thinking about how they will craft their digital identity online and engage with industry leaders, future co-workers, and engage with professionals in their occupational fields. I have enjoyed having conversations to consider what online reputation means, examining how/where our personal data exists, and understanding that “being” online means so much more in 2019.

Creating, crafting, and/or presenting our professional best self digital is quite complicated and complex — just like the individuals behind the profile. As usual, I continue to think about my digital imprint and I have begun to audit where I “live” online. [This process is taking a while, so I’ll share about this audit and review in another post when I am closer to wrapping it up.] as I start to audit my own life on social media platforms and other digital accounts. Of course, I continue to read and review what others are thinking about this process — being networked, living digital, cyber reputations, and online personas — who are connected and linked to peers and communities. Here are a few of the reads and resources I have recommended lately for higher education professionals (e.g. staff, graduate students, faculty, administrators, instructional designers, instructors, early career researchers, etc.):

Beyond this list, I am more than happy to share what I have “READ” and is accumulating on my “Networked Practice” reading list on GoodReads (some reviews included):

I suppose my attention is drawn to the ideas of self-presentation, reputation, and lived lives on social media platforms (and other digital spaces we don’t fully control). At the moment, I’m “CURRENTLY READING” the following books — thanks public and university library!:

My “WANT TO READ” book list is never short, but here are a few that I have either sitting on my home shelf to read (literally) around networked practices. I have no doubt I will add (or have added) to this list, especially as I hope to read these in February.  I welcome your recommendations for living a networked life, being a connected scholar, and being involved digital communities of practice:

What are you reading these days around networked practice? Do you have recommendations for those of us who live a networked, connected professional life? This could be about online personas, digital reputation, networked groups/communities, impacts of social media at work, and more. Share any recommendations you have, and if you’re GoodReads — be sure to connect with me, so I too can be inspired by the books you’re reading.

#HEdigID

#HEdigID Chat No. 10: Motivations for Using Social Media with @hapsci

Remember back in 2008 (or before), when your colleagues may have said social media is “just a fad” and it’s probably not something we shouldn’t really concern ourselves with in higher education? We know that THIS is not the case. This social, digital medium has flourished and spread to touch all aspects of our lives on and off campus. Maybe you signed up for an account on Facebook to stay in touch with college/university friends. You might regularly search for D.I.Y. and “how to” videos on YouTube (or post your own) to learn how to do something. Or perhaps you joined Twitter to follow a conference hashtag and stay in touch with the backchannel conversation. Finally, you may be capturing and sharing more photos with your smartphone to post these on Snapchat and/or Instagram to stay in touch with loved ones. These are just the few of may ways we are all motivated to be active and use social media.

I know that our news and information streams mention social media platforms. I can’t recall a day where I haven’t read, heard, or seen social media discussed in the news or been the primary information source delivering the news. Finally, there has been an increased amount of news ABOUT social media on issues such as privacy, personal data collection, politics, and more. Social media is a daily presence at our finger tips, screens, and in our conversations (offline and online). This was not the case just over a decade ago.

Most of us are using social media each and every day — but have you ever stopped to think — WHY??? What first motivated you to sign up for any social media account? What keeps you logging into your account to scroll, read, post, comment, share, and more online? And how are you currently using social media in your personal AND professional life? These are just a few of the many questions I have about motivations for using media in a social way. And, I know (thankfully) I am not alone in this inquiry. There are a growing number of colleagues who are curious about how social media connects us and what encourages us to log on and participate in these social platforms.

I’m excited to welcome guest moderator (MOD), Dr. Heather Doran (a.k.a. @hapsci), who will be facilitating the next all-day Higher Education Digital Identity (#HEdigID) chat this FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9th to discuss this #HEdigID Chat TOPIC “Motivations for Using Social Media.”

Heather is a public engagement manager and who is interested in how the public can connect with research and researchers through social media. Dr. Doran has been active on Twitter and a frequent blogger since 2009. In 2015 she was awarded a travel fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to explore how scientists and the public can connect on social media. For this Heather visited the USA, Canada, China and Japan. You can read what she got up to at www.heatherdoran.net or https://www.wcmt.org.uk/users/heatherdoran2015

Dr. Doran is interested in chatting about the different reasons why people in higher education use social media. For personal reasons? For part of your job? Let’s discuss how your motivations for using social media impacts and influences you professionally and personally in your daily life. To prepare for this conversation around open ed practices, here is a bit more information to review before the upcoming #HEdigID Chat:

#HEdigID Chat TOPIC: Motivations for Using Social Media

This SLOW chat can be found on Twitter with the hashtag starting on FRIDAY, November 9th (which might be November 8th in other global time zones) with the hashtag #HEdigID. Also, feel free to  start sharing your answers NOW within this OPEN Google doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid10

To get you thinking ahead, here are a few of the QUESTIONS you will see appear on Twitter and in an open Google doc for the FRIDAY (November 9th) #HEdigID ALL-DAY discussion:

  1. Why (and maybe when) did you start using social media?
  2. What motivates you as someone in higher ed to continue to use social media professionally for the work you do?
  3. What do you find most difficult about using social media these days?
  4. Has using social media as a professional in #highered met your expectations? Why or why not?
  5. What do you find social media most useful for in your role in higher education?
  6. What was the most insightful piece of advice or tip someone offered you (or you gave) for getting started with social media?

Join the discussion and share your motivations for using social media by:

  • Answering the questions by tweeting your response with the hashtag: #HEdigID

  • Responding anonymously in IN this OPEN Google Doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid10

  • Use any of these questions to draft your own personal reflection and response (e.g. blog post, video, audio, drawing or offline discussion)

 

UPDATE WITH TRANSCRIPT 11.12.18:

#HEdigID

#HEdigID Chat No. 8: #SocialMediaLife These Days

Love it or hate it, social media is a part of our daily lives. It’s not a trend or fad that is going away. Social media is deeply embedded into our every day activities, how we communicate, how many find news and information, and it supports our relationships near and far. Almost everyone, young and old, are now active in various social media platforms due to the tethering there is to portable smart devices (phones, tablets, watches, and more) and increased access and availability to the Internet (WiFi, 4G, etc.).  After listening to the recent @mozilla IRL Podcast episode “Kids These Days” with Veronica Belmont, Manoush Zomorodi, and Alexandra Samuel, I was concerned about if the “kids” were alright — that is the teens AND adults who have report daily social media.

The two 2018 reports from the US are interesting to compare how we are thinking about our #SocialMediaLife whether we are young or old:

 

Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences (2018)via @CommonSense Media (n=1,141)

  • 89% of teens with a smartphone (ages 13-17)
  • 70% of teens who use social media multiple times a day
  • Snapchat (41%), Instagram (22%), and Facebook (15%) are the social media sites these teens use the most
  • 72% of teens believe that tech companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices

Social Media Use in 2018 Report* via @PewResearch (n=2,002)

  • YouTube (73%), Facebook (68%), Instagram (35%), Pinterest (29%), Snapchat (27%), LinkedIn (25%), Twitter (24%), and Whatsapp (22%) of US adults say they use social media online or on their cellphone
  • A majority of adults visit Facebook (51%), Snapchat (49%), Instagram (38%), Twitter (26%), and YouTube (29%) on a daily basis

*That being said, I’m curious what the future report of adult social media use will be after learning about Facebook data scraping at congressional hearings, recent visits to congress by Twitter and Facebook, and questions if we should break up with these social media platform monopolies (e.g. Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp). I suspect much has changed since this report was released in March 2018.

Much of the recent #SocialMediaLife of Teens shared in the recent Common Sense study is reflecting what I am learning about adults on these platforms as well. As Veronica said, “Teens. They’re just like us!” There is a growing concern about behaviors, practices, and social interactions among my peers who need role models and mentoring just as much as the youth. There are similar patterns and concerns about #SocialMediaLife I am learning about from higher ed professionals (faculty and staff), my adult learners (online and face-to-face students) and among my peers (friends, family, colleagues, etc.). There is no shortage of emotions, thoughts, reflections, and reactions to how we are now thinking about social media in our lives. Let’s unpack this recent report about teens to see how much different we actually feel about these social platforms in our day-to-day life. Join me for the open, online conversation, won’t you?

#HEdigID CHAT TOPIC: #SocialMediaLife These Days

The next Higher Ed Digital Identity SLOW chat will be on Twitter with the hashtag: #HEdigID and #SocialMediaLife paired with this OPEN Google doc of questions: http://bit.ly/hedigid8

Learn more about the #HEdigID Chat and review the QUESTIONS in that will be posted on Twitter and in the Google doc the discussion ALL DAY on FRIDAY, September 14, 2018:

  1. What is your preferences for communication with family/friends? VOTE NOW HERE: Twitter Poll
  2. Related to #HEdigID Q1: Has using #socialmedia and your devices changed the way you communicate with friends, family, colleagues, etc.? Please share how your #SocialMediaLife or how technology has shaped the ways you interact and communicate with others.
  3. The @PewResearch report from March 2018 found that a majority of adults visit Facebook (51%), Snapchat (49%), Instagram (38%), Twitter (26%), and YouTube (29%) on a daily basis. Is this true for YOUR own practice? Please share your thoughts/use on these platforms now.
    • VOTE: Identify the ONE social media platform you use the MOST on a daily basis {Twitter Poll to be added}
  4. In looking at the @CommonSense #SocialMediaLife of Teens Study 2018 [https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/social-media-social-life-2018], was there anything that stood out in this report that YOU want to talk about today? [Developing questions and prompts for the #HEdigID chat for later].
  5. “72% of teens believe that tech companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices” @CommonSense What is your perspective on how your devices and these #socialmedia platforms strive to get your attention? How do you deal with this distraction? #socialmedialife
  6. “Teens are much more likely to say #socialmedia has a positive rather than a negative effect on how they feel (e.g. less lonely, depressed, anxious and more confidence, popular, etc.)” @CommonSense Does this resonate with YOUR feelings about your #SocialMediaLife? Please share.
  7. #HEdigID QUESTIONS & OPEN CHAT: To be determined (see question no. 4 and respond!)…

Join the discussion on #SocialMediaLife today:

  • Tweeting your response with the hashtag: #HEdigID

  • Answer IN this Google Doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid8

  • Use these questions to draft your own reflection OR response (e.g. blog, video, audio, drawing or discussion)

 

Update: Transcript from this #HEdigID chat can be found HERE

#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!

Higher Education, Networked Community, networkedscholar, Reflections, Research

Thinking About My Networked Self & Digital Experiences In Higher Ed

This past summer, I spent a great deal of time talking to colleagues in higher ed to learn how they utilize social media to connect with peers and support one another in online communities. These interviews and conversations have been enlightening to help us understand more about how our digital, networked selves come to work on a university/college campus and contribute to our professional fields. For some, it is becoming increasingly vital to share instruction, scholarship, and practice online.  For others, there are still concerns about being connected to colleagues as our social networks now have context collapse. In the online world, what IS really private vs. public? Which networks are used for personal and/or professional practice?Open and digital channels help higher ed faculty and stuff in a number of different ways: asking/giving advice, collaboration on projects, free professional development, sharing information/resources, colleagues solicit advice, personal/professional support, and opportunities to learn in digital communities with common interests. Besides developing a digital presence or a “persona” online, higher education staff, administrators and scholars are utilizing social media and digital technologies to support their work, add to their professional development, engage with peers, learn in the collective and publicly in digital spaces and places.

This leads me to ask these questions of my peers working in higher ed:

  • How does being part of a digital learning network support your professional learning and development?
  • How are you shaping your online identity and presence to share your professional values?
  • How can networked communities expand your knowledge and learning to enhance your role on campus and the work you do?
  • Why might others consider finding networked peers and practitioners to scaffold their own career goals?

Although there are benefits to “working out loud” and online, there are also a number of issues as we repurpose social, digital spaces. The stakes are high, as an increasing number of higher ed professionals participate in online social networks with minimal institutional guidance for sociotechnical support or training (Pasquini & Evangelopoulos, 2017). Social and digital networks are connected, public and scaled — and often not on spaces we own or have control over. Additionally, much of our own data is being collected and reused on these networked platforms. This has me wondering:

  • How are higher ed staff and faculty evaluating their online participation on these social networks?
  • How has their contribution to open, public spaces shifted over the years?
  • What does being online as a higher ed professional look like now?

These are just a few of the questions we are asking in our research study. If you are interested in sharing more about your own experiences as a professional in higher ed, please consider contributing by participating in an interview (more about the study here).

Research Interview Sign Up: http://bit.ly/networkedself

Part of this blog post is cross-posted via my Inside Higher Ed Digital Learning opinion piece.