Screen time – Who’s Watching?

Posted: October 27, 2014 in EC&I 831 Social Media & Open Education, Ed Tech
Tags: , ,

Last week Bonnie Stewart joined our Social Media & Open Education class to chat about networked identity. I was expecting her to immediately talk about privacy and security but instead she started by asking us, “Who are you?”

Most of us identified ourselves with our working identity first, family roles second, and lovers of certain hobbies or things as an after thought. It’s interesting but not surprising that we usually lead out with our professional persona given the audience. As a teacher I get a kick out of seeing my young students recognize me when I’m out and about at a restaurant or grocery store. No where is the notion of multiple identities so blatantly exposed than in that moment when they see me as someone other than ‘their teacher!’

“Mom, is that…? Nope, can’t be!”

Photo Credit: evilpeacock via Compfight cc

So what about your network identity?  Who do you present yourself as when you’re online? For me there’s not much difference aside from the fact that I use different platforms for my professional and personal life…or at least tried to. I find my business and personal identities are merging there too as my PLN grows and as I tap into resources and information from various sources.

Is there no where personal or private? And, how do you know who you’re really talking to?

This semester as part of my studies I am spending a lot more time on Twitter than I had before. Like opening up my comment section on my blog I have also opened up my ‘follower’ capabilities so anyone can follow my twitter feed. This is exciting as people I reach out to turn around and follow me or people I don’t know Retweet my ramblings or resources I’ve found. (Thanks for the ego boost!;) It is really quite amazing to feel so supported and connected but admittedly this open access business is a little unnerving. Now honestly, I’m pretty sure no one really cares about some teacher on the Canadian prairies trying to figure it all out but after seeing some creepy videos about the dark side of cyberspace it kind of makes me wonder, “Who’s watching?”

(Thanks for the find Tammy Lee … I think!)

Maybe my colleague has it right in having multiple twitter accounts. Or perhaps that only provides the illusion of privacy and control? I went to great lengths to control my Facebook account years ago only to hear from a friend that my privacy settings were so high he couldn’t even ask me to ‘friend’ him! On the flipside, I didn’t realize how ridiculously easy it is to have your picture scooped until another friend snipped my profile pic off FB to use for a surprise gift. Hmmm…hope there’s no unwanted surprises out there. I can only thank God that social networking wasn’t around for my teen years. I cringe at some of the pictures I see my young cousins posting and wonder how long the ‘partier’ persona will follow them. FOREVER, that’s the scary thing!!

After drunken night at Chris' II_MMVI
Photo Credit: andronicusmax via Compfight cc

But privacy and identity security are only part of our online story. I found this great visual via Krista Gates’ blog post, Networking my identity: @kristabgates, outlining Mike Ribble‘s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship.

There are so many facets to the digital footprint we are creating. It’s not just about “Who’s watching?” but also what you’re leaving behind for others to see–not just with regard to personal information but equally important, your digital legacy. Instead of asking us, “What do you want to do?”, Bonnie Stewart encouraged us to consider, “What do you want to contribute?” What imprint do you want to leave?

Right now my children are barely conscious of the online world and so most of their exposure is through me and my husband. (But it’s coming soon I know!) We work hard to limit their gaming and screen time and I try hard to be as transparent as possible about what I’m doing with all the screen time I’m logging lately. I am very cognizant of who else is watching.


  1. The title of your post drew me in right away! Awesome.

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