Mapping my digital identity was not the easiest task, especially since my digital life revolves around mainly the same outlets, at least that is what I thought. Using Google to research myself and my digital identity allowed me to understand myself so much more than I previously had. It was actually surprising how much of my information was out there on the internet and it is available to anyone who searches my name on Google. To think that people’s private or personal information could be readily available to the public at any given moment was a shocking and scary realization for me.
When I went through the first step, the digital identity mapping form, for the first time, all I could come up with are all of the social media sites and texting that I use on a day-to-day basis. Scrolling through Google allowed me to see that my digital identity is spread out among so many different sources, most of which I have seemed to forgotten about over the years. As I previously mentioned, all I really knew about myself digitally was through my use of social media, but for what is being said about me, there were so many results that I found on Google that said otherwise. At least for what is being said about me, mainly dealt all of the sports and activities I have competed or participated it. Examples of this are Elite Prospects, MaxPreps, Pointstreak, and the Democrat & Chronicle, all of which detailed my high school hockey career, RDSL and RDYSL for my travel soccer, B Lax Five for high school lacrosse, and PBFL 2017 or Hot Stove, which are activities I participate in with my friends.
Although it is more than just social media where things are said about me, social media still dominates my digital identity. Whether it is expressing, publishing, details, or my audience, social media, specifically Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, consume most of those aspects. Within those four aspects, there are other forms of digital media that add to my usage of social media, such as Google mail, texting and phone conversations, and Discord, which gives other people the ability to contact me if they can find that information somewhere in the depths of a Google search. On that same note, I too am capable of finding peoples’ information and contacting them, so I am not the only who’s information is not protected on the internet.
One thing I noticed about my digital identity is that it is not much different than my offline identity. Now, I believe that I am trying to represent myself more professionally because I am graduating within the next year and have to be ready to assimilate into the workforce. There were still some things that I found in my Google search that reflect my childhood and I am not too proud to have found, but I was not the one who created what I had found. I realized that the internet does not allow anyone to truly get rid of their past, especially digitally, but I can make my identity more professional by reshaping what I share and what media I use to represent myself.
Secondly, I did not actually learn that much about myself as a person but I saw that there is a lot more information about me out there that I forgot about or simply did not know about. It was also extremely weird to see how many of my Twitter and Facebook pictures are on Google images, which is not only pictures that I shared but other pictures with me in them that were shared by others. Ultimately, I learned that there is so much more to my digital identity than I originally thought and more than I could have ever imagined.
Next, my life relies on various sources of media, which makes my online life multimodal. Whether it is social media, websites, a video game console, or a streaming service, these are all different modes of media that my life depends on every day. Examples of multimodality can be Twitter or Instagram, Xbox or PlayStation, and Apple Music or Amazon, which are forms of media that I subscribe to and pay for.
Lastly, my main concern when it comes to not only my digital identity, but also the identity of others, is that there are already tons of peoples’ personal data that is widely accessible all over the internet through the use of a simple Google search. I am genuinely worried that over the next few years, as multiple types of media control and possess everyone’s data, more and more private information will be leaked onto the internet. As a result of this, my digital identity along with everyone else’s will be compromised, corrupted, and available to anyone around the world, which could include any social media account, credit card, bank statements, or any other form of someone’s identity. This would make it much easier for people to steal one another’s identities and could ruin a lot of peoples’ lives in the process.