[Here we go. First blog post for this #DigPINS series of reflections.]
It’s been a while since I have actually blogged. My last active blog on LiveJournal had to have been back in 2005. That was my “personal” blog where I was most candid with my thoughts. I simultaneously had a “professional” blog on Xanga that I used in my high school teaching where I posted assignments and such because that’s the site where most of my students were already active.
But, during grad school — which led to a career change, that Xanga blog fell by the wayside as I had to adapt my digital teaching sites to Blackboard and Moodle in line with the practices of my respective institutions.
My personal blog faded out as I joined Facebook and Twitter and my online and IRL friends began to migrate over to those platforms as well. So, LiveJournal didn’t offer the same connections as it had when I first started blogging. Now, blogging for this #DigPINS course feels oddly familiar.
I can confidently say that I feel very much a resident (and not a visitor) in the digital spaces that I frequent, and that goes for both the institutional and personal types of digital identities that I use. I didn’t recognize that was notable until it was pointed out in our Slack room dedicated to this kernel that I may have exhibited a more resident-tilted VR map than others did.
(Most people would be surprised to know that I graduated college in the 90s before home computers were able to connect to the Internet, so it’s not my age that makes me more likely to “buy in” to digital pedagogy and identity. Likewise, I’m not an early adopter/digital native/frequent mobile app user by any means. I still use a Blackberry that has a QWERTY keypad so. . . )
While I’m not entirely sure why that might be the case, I think part of it might be that I actually am more inclined to meet my “audiences” on the platforms where they feel most comfortable. So, my students in the early 2000s were using Xanga, and I went there. The people with whom I want to interact today are on Facebook and Twitter, and now I’m there.
What’s kept me around in these digital spaces is because they feel to me that I can maintain an authentic self there. The medium of micro-blogging and immediacy of the replies on such sites feel much more conversational and organic than the stuffy monologues that I’ve thrown out in blogs past (and present). The quick, pithy comments and the conversations those create match up well with how I teach and share ideas and how dynamically I appreciate conversations to flow. I’ve said in the past, “I respond on social media & through the various genre expectations of that social media if the post exists on social media.” The generic expectations of Facebook and Twitter are more similar to how I connect with others IRL and so I’ve stuck around using these formats.
So, knowing how I ground my digital identity has made me see this week that medium matters. And, if I would like to be authentic in my digital pedagogy, I’m going to need to keep that in mind as I consider what platforms my current students feel authentically constructs them.
Will check in again next kernel.