Exploring Digital Identities
Brilliant class today — thanks, everyone! We delved deeper into our exploration of digital identities, beginning by clarifying the terms social media, social networks and networked publics. We drew on danah boyd‘s definition of networked publics from Social Network Sites as Networked Publics (one of several papers on digital identities from our growing course Reading List above).
Networked publics are publics that are restructured by networked technologies. As such, they are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined collective that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics serve many of the same functions as other types of publics – they allow people to gather for social, cultural, and civic purposes and they help people connect with a world beyond their close friends and family. While networked publics share much in common with other types of publics, the ways in which technology structures them introduces distinct affordances that shape how people engage with these environments. The properties of bits – as distinct from atoms – introduce new possibilities for interaction. As a result, new dynamics emerge that shape participation.
We discussed our perceptions of a few social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, sharing ideas on how and why we use (or don’t use) them:
We then discussed how to get more out of Twitter, particularly in the context of research (and CT231 research projects) — for example, how the Search feature can be used to find up-to-date resources, how to connect with authors on Twitter, and the strategic use of hashtags. We analysed a few recent @CT231 and #ct231 tweets, examining the “anatomy of a tweet”.
During the second half of our session, we discussed and analysed Bonnie Stewart‘s Digital Identities: Six Key Selves of Networked Publics. We divided into small groups, each analysing and reflecting on one of the six key selves. Before the class session I tweeted our plans to explore this article. Wonderfully, Bonnie responded and we enjoyed — and tweeted from — lively discussions about identities, both embodied (atoms) and digital (bits). Following are just a few sample tweets; see more at hashtag #ct231.
Thanks again to all for your enthusiasm and participation today — lots of engaging discussion, both inside our sunny room and in networked public space… Please continue to share your thoughts, questions and resources of interest on Twitter, using #ct231. See you there!