I’m still new at this. My adventures after I ‘Awaken the Dragon‘ now leave me very visible and present in social media spaces. I need to carefully examine where that leaves ME. I’m not sure how my media creations look and sound in digital spaces. Am I being too loud? Do I talk too much? Who’s seeing me or even listening? Who am I in digital spaces? Is my ego showing? Who is the ME that is evident in my Media? The message others take from my MEdia should reflect who I am. Do others see ME in my writing? Is this rather shy, farm girl from rural Ontario evident in what I write? Do my Dutch roots show when words spread into media spaces?
I was humbled this week by the many connections and comments that came my way from people whom I respect as leaders in connected digital spaces.
- M. Pacansky Brock sent out this tweet about my blog post Teachers are humans too!
- Doug Peterson posted a thoughtful response to my blog post We are not algorithms and included me in this tweet-out.
- @HumanMOOC sent a link to a ‘call for book chapters’ relating to humanizing online learning to see if I was interested in writing on this topic.
- A paper on Mapping Digital Literacy Policy and Practice in the Canadian Education Landscape was published on the MediaSmarts website. Since being asked by M. Hoechsmann to co-author this work, I’ve become more aware of my voice as an advocate for a strong sense of critical digital literacy in Canadian educational contexts. This document, introduced by Matthew Johnson of MediaSmarts, links to educational resources for classroom use.
Throughout this week, I continued to read and connect through social MEdia and reflected on ME in digital spaces. After reading Sherri Spelic’s blog post On the Other Side of a Twitter Tizzy and Maha Bali’s blog post Ego, Self-Promotion & Empowering Minority Voice, my ego and sense of self needed to be checked and reviewed. Where is ‘ME’ in my MEdia. Am I in it for the ego-boost or, as Lee Skallerup Bessette states in Shameless Self-Promotion, “shameless self-promotion isn’t about just you; it’s about being better because of the people you’ve reached”? More reflection and self-checking results in renewed focus.
It’s not about ME in this MEdia. It’s about becoming a better human, teacher, person because I’m making a difference through sharing my MEdia with others. So that’s where I’ll leave it for now.
Where do you find your ME in your MEdia? What does your MEdia say about you?
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here on digital presence and about ME in Media. Excellent thoughts and directly related to what I was (trying) to get across to faculty yesterday on campus. I left some quick notes yesterday at the link below but am about to include a link to one of your blog posts (“Awaken the Dragon” I think fits best) as a resource for my colleagues struggling with why they should blog or what they should blog about.
Ken. It’s great to connect with you here and on Twitter. Your comment is appreciated and I’m glad it connected to what you are doing with faculty. It still amazes me that my ‘voice’ can be heard in global spaces and that my message resonates with what others are thinking. Hope the dragon metaphor helps your colleagues to become visible. Thanks for the link! 🙂 Helen
Your post really got me thinking, especially after I read some of the linked posts. The loudest voices in social media seem to be white males and people seem to defer to them. That’s an echo of our daily reality. Keep your voice loud! Why not?
Sue, thanks for the response. I enjoy reading and following your voice, so I’ll echo back across the digital space to you “Keep your voice loud!” Let’s see where others will echo back. 🙂 Helen
I like how you are framing this question, and perhaps suggesting a semi formal periodic self check. For how you are perceived in the digital space (“too loud” “not serious” “too Dutch”) there is the part you control/own vs the part you can’t — how people listen and form their own opinions.
My approach is paying attention how other people sounds to me as some what of a yard stick. Therefore, I follow (a few) people who come across to me as raging egomaniacs and ones I disagree with– it helps me check sometimes … ‘Am I sounding like X?” I do not obsess over numbers, reach, metrics.
The ego thing is tricky. I’d be lying if I said it does not matter when people retweet or mention me publicly. It feels good. We all seek validation and can start questioning when we do not get it. So there is nothing dysfunctional about warming to praise. What does matter is what we do about it; hence I never go about retweeting my mentions or promoting the book I have not written. I think I am not being egotistical, but I may even miss when something I say might come off to some people as being so. Again, there’s what I control and what I cannot.
The thing is we talk about “identity” like it’s a singular entity, it evolves in time and in different context. We sit inside of ourselves and pretty much have a solid idea of who we are, but how that appears in the world varies quite a bit.
A video I tweeted recent includes some undergraduate students talking about online identity, and the first one (with cracking knuckles) describes hers rather profoundly as something like an iris that opens and closes depending on the context we are in; much the same our outward “us” shifts from being with personal friends to being with office colleagues to being with strangers in the street in New York City.
It’s not that we are multi-personalities, and all are some faceted presentation of who we are. Online, some of us take a bit more cynical or critical personas, to be able to express what we often do not say in person, but that is more like an exaggeration of us rather than a different us.
My “ME” is trying to be humorous (often failing), playful (sometimes teasing people I know because they have heard it before), and supportive towards others (because it feels food to get that in return). The difficult part of this can be feeling like you are not heard, especially on entry into what feels like a party you are crashing. ME needs to be listening as much or more than speaking.
Thanks for letting me write a blog post in your comments 😉
Alan, I am honoured that you have ‘blogged’ here. Thanks for your thoughtful response.
This adds so much ME in Media and to notions of perspective and control. You connect some very real ‘dots’ with the videos. The student perspectives add to this digital conversation. The multiple personalities we take on in different digital spaces mirrors what we do in our physical spaces. But in these digital spaces, I also wonder about the unreal or fictitious personae that individuals can create (aka gaming or Second Life). Your response reminds me that digital spaces can be complicated to navigate and a challenge for students who are struggling with a sense of self. You are welcome to blog here anytime 🙂 Helen
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Helen, the title of this blog post hooked me to it. It immediately had me considering my media interactions and how my self shines through in these interactions. Regarding answering your questions, I turned to the posts you linked and found myself to have unsureness of my answer. I am also open, digitally and non-digitally of my minority status and often find myself being pushed to be a voice for minorities, although I agree with Maha Bali and the need for representation but not to be taking on individual responsibility.
So, I came up with these answers. Our identity, what makes us who we are, is often aspects about our lives and experiences and those things reflect on and off the digital world. Me in Media for me, is also the strive to become well-informed as well as inform. What does my Media say about me? It paints a picture of who I am. The media aspect does not change anything for me. I say and share what I would say or share online as much as off. If anything, online interactions has helped me build a stronger identity of myself in seeing other representations as well as negative and positive posts about who I am. My first time meeting a mixed person outside of my family was in high school and having this identity is usually a challenging one. Bring in media, and there are more opportunities to see people like me. However, there are also people telling you where you “belong.” The positivity is the representation, the negativity is frankly, racists and the belief of keeping bloodlines pure, sticking to your own kind, etc. But these comments came to my parents on subway stations and in restaurants in the early 90s as they come to me and others, albeit more as a broad than a personal attack, online. So, simply put, who I am in media is who I am off media. And I find myself in media, by finding others with like-mindedness.
What a wonderful and heartfelt response Jade. I’m so happy you added your thoughts here! One line really resonated for me “I say and share what I would say or share online as much as off”, since this is true for me too! I think that the potential for finding ‘my tribe’ in social media is one of the potentials, but also one of the barriers. If I only talk to those who are the same colour, age, mind-set as I am, then I become siloed in my conversations. The one element I try to do is break out of my ‘echo-chambers’ to find dissonant and disparate voices to push my thinking and challenge my understanding, in good ways, not with trolling or harassment. I hope you continue to share your voice so others can hear you and follow you. There’s much to learn from your perspectives. Thanks again! Helen
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I can really relate to this blog post and my ability to relate to you supports your point that we can all make a difference by sharing our media with others. When I was reading through your blog post, I felt relieved that I am not the only one who struggles with being open and visible in the digital world. In the past, I have been hesitant to post my thoughts because there is a certain vulnerability that is associated with putting your thoughts and ideas out there. Before I do post, I usually go back and forth about what to say and change my wording multiple times. I find myself questioning how others will view me and whether they will think I’m too opinionated, confident, ‘out there’ and the list goes on. However, I always remind myself of how important authenticity is in the digital world. Despite my fears, I need only worry that I am being true to myself and producing an accurate image of myself. Even if people do find me “too (fill in the blank)”, I remain confident knowing that I may have helped one person and that is what matters to me.
As educators, we have so much to learn from each other. There are so many great teaching resources that amaze me but also make me wonder how I will ever obtain perfection like so many of the people I see and read about online. With the growing popularity of social media, we are constantly under pressure to make our lives look perfect – to make it look like we are always having fun and always happy. Although I do appreciate reading success stories in the classroom, I also love reading stories about what didn’t work; I feel comfort in knowing that it is okay to not have everything go right – because things don’t always go right and that’s life! Maybe I will try an activity with my class someday and it will not go as well as I had hoped. Whether the technology doesn’t work, a link is broken or my class is just having an off day, I want to know that I am not alone and that is also what I want to accomplish in my MEdia. I want people to know that I am a work in progress and we can grow together through sharing and learning from each other.
Thanks so much Aimee for your response here. You are so right when you say that there are many great teaching opportunities we can learn together, especially from our ‘failed lessons’. It is even more challenging and a greater risk to put these ‘mistakes’ out into open internet spaces. It does go counter-cultural to the image of perfection you mentioned. Authenticity is a risk. Reflection in the open is a risk. Making our teaching practice an ‘open story’ is a risk. But every time we step into a classroom we are taking a risk – but look at the potential benefits that come from that! Keep telling your inner voice that being true to yourself and pushing past your comfort zone has untold potential benefits! Keep sharing your voice and your story. You never know how it may help someone else! Helen