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To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society

Costa, Cristina and Torres, Ricardo (2011) To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias (Specia). pp. 47-53.

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Abstract

The emergence of the web has had a deep impact at different levels of our society, changing the way people connect, interact, share information, learn and work. In the current knowledge economy, participatory media seems to play an important part in everyday interactions. The term “digital identity” is becoming part of both our lexicon and our lives. This paper explores some of the aspect s regarding approaches and practices of educators, using web technologies to foster their digital identity within their networks and, at the same time, developing a social presence to complement their professional and academic profiles. In fact, we think it is imperative to discuss the relationship between our social presence and our professional life, as online the two are often intertwined. We present the issues the web poses through dichotomies: open or closed, genuine or fake, single or multiple. We also comment on different approaches to these dichotomies through examples extracted from recent projects, drawing from user’s experiences in building their digital identities. This paper looks at the importance of digital identity in the current networked society, by reviewing the contemporaneous scenario of the participatory web, raising a set of questions about the advantages and implication of consciously developing one’s digital identity, thus opening the discussion regarding openness, uniqueness and integrity in connection with one’s digital identity. This paper is also a reflection of thinking and practice in progress, drawing from examples and real-life situations observed in a diversity of projects. The issue could be reduced, perhaps, to whether one consciously becomes a part of the digital world or not, and how that participation is managed. It is up to us to manage it wisely, and guide knowledge workers in their journey to create theirs.