Over the past week I have spent a lot of time thinking about identity and the ways we represent ourselves – both to ourselves in our most private places as well as to the various publics we come in contact with as we go about our lives. I think that one of the side effects of living in a hyper-connected time is that we are constantly mediating the representations of ourselves and this remediation process has to have an impact on who we are – our very identity.
I have not been embroiled in these musings alone as this contemplation was inspired by the first Make Cycle of the 2015 CLMOOC. Jill Dawson explored the idea that sometimes it feels as if our digital representations disappear into the ether. She wrote a 25-word story using paper circuitry to illustrate the sense of alienation that can result from this experience.
Maha Bali discussed the important idea that who we are is different from what we do in “Different Untroductions.” This is something I need to remind myself of often and I think it is also an important lesson for our students. However, it might be her post about “Inevitable Exclusion – symbols, hashtags, and networked spaces” which resonates more with me as I think about the ways we can exclude or include people however good our intentions might be. Open is not always open.
Susan Watson discusses the ways that un-introductions can help us move from “them” to “us” and how our representations play a role in hospitality and whether or not we actually welcome others into our spaces. In “Don’t Sit On My Fire Hydrant,” we are asked to think about the ways our designs (of our remediated selves and our physical spaces) can invite or manage people. This idea is echoed by Jeffrey Keefer’s poem “When community is not community.”
Wendy Eiteljorg’s post echoed some of my own struggles with this Make Cycle (see Identity and the Unintroduction #CLMOOC style). She notes “how often do I feel an introduction really tells anything about me that is important anyway” and I want to shout “Amen.”
Ultimately, introductions and invitations are important, but their veracity is always questionable at best because we have remediated ourselves to suit our context and comfort level within it.