This week, our Digital History class discussed our digital identities. A digital identity is the picture of you that is discoverable online. It includes both material that you post about yourself as well as material made by others about you. During our discussion, we talked about what we found out about our own digital identities, how we can ensure those identities show what we want, and how we can take steps to curate our own digital identity. Here’s four things I learned about my own digital identity.
1. I sort of have two digital identities.
If you’ve looked at my site URL, you’ll see that my name is Samara Strootman. However, in person I typically go by Sammy. This creates some interesting discrepancies in my digital identity. Googling “Samara Strootman” and “Sammy Strootman” will get you two different sets of results. This creates an interesting dilemma for me: how can I ensure both sets of Google results portray an accurate picture of me? Do I want both to say the same thing, or do I want to reserve one for professional identity and one for personal? This is something I’ll have to think about as I continue to curate my digital identity.
2. I can’t control everything posted about me online.
Some of the top results when you search my name are sports results. While these are not bad things, I don’t necessarily want my high school track results to be the first thing people see about me (especially since my first couple years of track participation weren’t great!). I also need to keep in mind that if these results are so high on a Google search, what other things could potentially make it that high on the list? Are there posts or photos that people tag me in that I might not want to show up on my first page of results? Our readings and discussions stressed that the best ways to prevent less than ideal content from showing up is to either ask people to take it down or create enough positive content about yourself that that’s what shows up first.
3. It’s good to have a one-stop-shop where people can access all your platforms.
That’s what I’m intending this website to be. Here, you can access my blog, a CV, and links to my social media. Having all that information in one place makes it easier for people to find out more about me. And a bonus: I decide everything that goes on this website, so I’ll always know what information people can access about me from here.
4. Your digital identity is constantly changing.
The Internet is not static, so neither will your presence be either. If you Google your name every week, chances are that the results won’t be the same every time. It’s important to keep up to date on what people are seeing about you. Knowing what people are seeing about you on a semi-regular basis will help you know when to adjust your content creation strategies and will keep you on track for curating your best digital identity.
These were some of the things we talked about as a class pertaining to our digital identities. Do you have any tips you’d like to share about curating a digital identity? Leave them in the comments below!