Online identity is a topic that I have been considering since I have started blogging again.
How much of me do I give away, in my endeavour to build an online identity?
It was unfortunate that the guest speaker could not attend this weeks group Elluminate session however I think that the topic selected was very relevant to thoughts and reflections of many of the course participants over the last few weeks. Another great example of a facilitator(s) thinking on their feet.
Blogging - When I initially considered this course I read Sarah's blog and was inspired to divulge the personal side of me to allow others (those who would participate in the course-FO2010) to make a human connection. I warmed to Sarah when I was able to see her smiling face in her photo, understand a little about her personal/family circumstances and understand her professional persona.
Online appearance was a consideration when I created a new blog. Do I differentiate my FO2010 blog by loading a new look photo. In the end the decision was made because I could not spend another moment fiddling with my new blog, I just loaded the same old photo that I have used on FB. I find that by using a photoshopped image of myself I avoid the cringing everytime I log on. I did not want a Second Life avatar, mainly because I do not have one as yet, but also I feel that this is a false impression of who I really am, to me it seems like it is a 'facade' of who you want to be. Perhaps this is an indication that I need to play around in SL to gain a more thorough understanding.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and a multitude of others have become commonplace in recent years. These sites allow connections to be made in cyberspace, but they still allow very human connections. I still see FB as a place where I can catch up with friends, at the commencement of FO2010 I did not understand how this could be used as a platform for communication in a course with strangers spread across the world. Now it is clear that the connections and friendships made online, are just as 'real' as the connections made face to face. My Twitter experience left a bad taste in my mouth, when I initially discovered Twitter I expected a network where people could make professional connections. I am not sure where this initial impression came from however I was soon dissapointed as I found that I was still getting updates about the cheese sandwich that someone had eaten for lunch. I expect that now might againbe a good time to dabble in Twitter again, it seems like it will be around for a while.
As an online facilitator there are many goals that I have, one of which is to give a little of myself to allow learners to 'connect' with me on a personal/human level. I find that by watching & learning from others I am adding to my list of Do and Don'ts. One factor which I find very endearing is Sarah's use of 'funny phrases' that really give an insight into who she is..."other days it all turns to custard". I believe that Sarah's intention, as she discussed in the session, to allow her online persona to be 'honest' to who she really is allows me to 'connect' with her.
I am now wondering how my style as a facilitator will be modified to an online environment. How will I use humor and convey my personal stories. Always more to think about.
Image is a shot from my recent trip to Queenstown...ahh the serenity!