Week 4: Digital identity | Writing skills

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CC BY-NC-ND Will Foster

In Week 4, we delved a bit deeper into our exploration of digital identities. Who are we in online spaces? And how does this relate to who are offline? First we reviewed a few of the tools (in addition to the usual search engines) that you can use to find out more about your digital footprint:

Then we clarified the terms social media, social networks and networked publics, drawing 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 also explored the concepts of digital dualism and context collapse, and changing ideas about privacy. These are explored in course Readings (link above right) by danah boyd, Nathan Jurgensen, Bonnie Stewart and Howard Rheingold.

Lastly, I highlighted the importance of writing as a core skill. Later in the course you will have the opportunity to create and deliver a presentation and to choose and create your own digital media project. In both cases, as in most digital creative work, writing continues to be a core skill — writing clearly and concisely, summarising, paraphrasing, quoting, tagging social bookmarking. All of these are skills that you’ll have the opportunity to develop in the Professional Skills module.

Next week (Week 5), we’ll have a writing workshop during class, so that you can discuss some of these types of writing, practice them in small groups, and get and receive feedback.

Image: CC BY-NC-ND Will Foster

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