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When does digital identity begin

My parents purchased a "real" computer when I was a senior in high school. It was the replacement for our Commodore 64. Beloved as it was, the "Commodore" and its dot matrix printer wasn't exactly high-tech in 1995. However, with over a gigabyte of hard drive space, Windows 95, and a mouse, the new machine was epic. And, it offered up a portal to the outside (digital) world via dial-up Internet. I was hooked...and patient. Getting connected wasn't easy and the web was quite young. A year after that, I had my first email account and was surfing the emerging web.

Little did I know that I was learning how to "be" on the web and establishing my digital identity during those early days. Usernames, long-forgotten and usually anonymous, were often nicknames with my birth year attached to them. Fast forward to the present, and digital identity plays a big part in my life.

I've written a lot about digital identity development on this blog. Here are some of the moments when digital identity is present in 2015:

  • A mobile device is purchased, apps are downloaded, accounts are created, and engagement begins. Moving almost faster than you can keep up, there's always something new and exciting. Lifelong learners embrace digital identity.
  • At orientation, a campus representative talks about using Twitter as a vehicle for communications. Hashtags are used, tweets are posted, and community is created using 140 characters.
  • The search for a college/university program starts on LinkedIn. No longer seen as being "just" about jobs, the "next big thing" continues to add value in multiple aspects of our lives.
  • Ephemeral and anonymous app posts aren't really disappearing or disconnected to our true selves...screenshots are snapped and IP addresses show our location. Identity is shared and stories are told. The tools shift, but the tasks remain similar. Privacy continues to evolve as we continue to share.
  • Engagement with staff, students, and faculty create moments for teaching, learning, and literacy. Digital identity complements interpersonal skills and adds to employability.

What would you add to this list? How is your digital identity evolving? Do you still have two accounts or are you simultaneously personal AND professional on social media (in other words: human)?

Do you tweet? Let's connect. Follow me on Twitter.

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