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The Global Educator, by Julie Lindsay

Created by Alan Levine @cogdog as the Keynote video for Flat Classroom Project 12-1 and NetGenEd Project 2012

Our language of saying "going online" carries the connotation that we go to a different place, and with that, who we are in these places has a different identity. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, we effectively carrying the internet in our pockets, and for me, carries questions about the blurred boundary of "online" versus "offline". In this video, I would like to explore these questions, share some stories, and make some suggestions about managing our own identities versus having it managed for us.
Guiding Questions:
- Is there a clear demarcation between who you are online and elsewhere?
- What parts of you are people missing out on if they do not interact with the online you?
- Why (or why not) should you manage your own personal cyber infrastructure? What does this mean to you?
- Who are we in this space where the online world is not something distinctly separate?

Alan is widely recognized for expertise in the application of new technologies to education and was a pioneer on the web. An early proponent of blogs and RSS, he shares his ideas and discoveries at CogDogBlog. More recently he has explored new forms of web storytelling (including 50+ Web 2.0 Ways To Tell a Story and the StoryBox), and tools for connecting and open sharing online.

Currently he is an instructional technology specialist at the University of Mary Washington, following leadership positions at the New Media Consortium and the Maricopa Community Colleges. When possible, he enjoys the peace of a little cabin in Strawberry, Arizona. His interests include digital storytelling, digital photography, bending WordPress to his whims, and randomly dipping into the inifinte river of the internet.

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Comment by ZhiyanBISS on March 30, 2012 at 5:38pm

Also I think this identity stuff and personal brand is really making us self-centered.

Comment by Vidisha BISS on March 30, 2012 at 5:32pm

Watching the video I suppose that people are different people online and offline, I mean when you're online you have a different personality, but while you're offline its different (maybe you're more open or remain the invisible person. 

Comment by Jacky-BISS on March 30, 2012 at 5:31pm

The effects used in the video by with the main character in three different statuses, one of them being recorded in the mobile phone, is excellent and original. The video itself is creative, and the protagonist himself is brave to face his friends online. In the People's Republic of China, this is very dangerous, because there are lots of frauds on the Internet, made by swindlers with multiple accounts with different personal information, and try to lure people who has little online experience.

Comment by ZhiyanBISS on March 30, 2012 at 5:31pm

I like digital technology and the world wide web, but I don't understand the significance of the identity issue despite all the videos and lectures to convince me otherwise. Still I think the world wide web has an enormous unrealized potential and networks would become increasingly more important. 

Comment by RadiS_AAS on March 29, 2012 at 6:02am

Hello again all,

I agree with Alan Levine here! While it is true that online communication has its drawbacks, even not chatting or having a conversation like this one here with people can still give you a sense of what's going on. Personally, I think the article does hold pretty true today. I mostly use twitter for news, but Facebook is very similar, just without the 140 character limitation. It's actually quite easy to tell what someone's day is like just by checking on their FB status updates and photos, giving you at least some orientation as to when would be the best time to meet up with them, or, say, work on a project together without interfering with their schedule too much! From personal experience though, I can say that there is definitely a drawback to this, as sometimes things can be taken a lot less seriously than intended, or far too seriously, often putting a really cloudy look on an otherwise bright day. Overall, I mean that while you can indeed get an awareness for people online, and get to know then quite well indeed, sometimes we just have to be careful with how we interpret what we read (it's like the reaction you get when watching a movie based on a book you've read: "Whaaaat?! I DEFINITELY did not imagine him looking like that!") Despite all this, I must agree again with Alan Levine, as although what we do online these days defines a part of us, and can tell people quite a lot about us if we're not careful, it's not our entire personality. It's like saying that the way we talk to our friends is also the way we talk to, say, our teachers, parents, new acquaintances, etc., it's not the same, although it may be similar, it's just not the same. People will make opinions about you, what your life is like, etc. based not only on what they see online, but also on what they see in real life, no matter how similar the "online you" and the "offline you" are!

See you all later!

Comment by Alan Levine on March 26, 2012 at 11:16pm

I do not have any expectation that the communications we have on online and offline are equal; yes, we miss many inferential key cues of body language when we have an online chat or conversation (like this one).

But there are things that we augment the communication with when we are here- all the search at our hands, the lack of a need to pretend interest when the the other party is, say, not so compelling to listem to, the expectations are less for attention just to name a few. 

For a different take on what online communication has as an advantage, read Clive Thompson How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense (from the early days of twitter, but it still holds true today IMHO).

I have experiences many powerful personal experiences online that would not have happened without the web, not to keep falling back on my own story, but the outreach from people around the world last year when I lost my mother was as real, or more real, than the things I heard from people face to face.

Lastly, I'd like to suggest parsing out that there are a range of online communications I am covering here, beyond the conversational status exchanges or instant messaging; consider what is possible in the longer forms of video, comments, blogging- again as RadiS_AAS suggests below, relying on third party services to be the locus of your online persona is tenuous. 

Your "personal brand" is not only created by the things you put online, but how you present yourselves across these spectrum of communication modes.

Comment by RadiS_AAS on March 26, 2012 at 8:00pm

Interesting way to look at things! Personally I believe that saying there is a clear demarcation between who you are in real life and who you are online, is exactly the same as saying that there is a clear difference in how you behave in front of certain people in certain circumstances, as mentioned in the video. While it is true that there is a difference in our behavior depending on the situation, this doesn't mean that we change ourselves entirely, it just means that we change what we choose to show, and/or tell. The same goes for our offline and online lives, although I am the same person when I talk to people in real life as I am when I post a Facebook status update, this just means that I've chosen look different online that I do online, for one reason or another. However, this doesn't mean that people see all of me when talking to me online. While it is easy to share experiences, thoughts, etc. over chat, from personal experience I can tell you that there are some things that a comment, like, favorite, call it what you want just can't substitute! Although you can send smileys, messages, etc. online to someone, it's just not the same as showing true feeling, not to mention the fact that when to people actually meet, if we want to go psycho for a bit, they begin to unintentionally share certain mannerisms, making them more appealing to each other, also, misunderstandings over chat are much more common than they would be IRL . Namely, it's the feelings and the true meaning of words that people miss out on when talking to you online. As for our presence online, and why it would be good or bad to maintain one, I think this is by all means a good thing.   Try having a drink and a meetup with someone on the other side of the world verses a chat, and you'll see what I mean! However, just as we try to make our homes, gardens, cars, etc., look good in real life because they are ours, this is something which is widely shared on the interwebs. If I have an active profile somewhere, it's up to me to maintain it one way or another, if I don't the chance that it will be deleted is quite high, and also, the chance that someone could hack the account and pose as me also increases. In other words, although profiles on social networking sites cost nothing, there is always a "subconscious" feeling that we should maintain those accounts if we want to appear as fresh online as we do IRL. For the last question, I'm speaking from an entirely personal point of view. Although many people have distinct personalities online and offline, if I was to look back through my Facebook statuses, photos, etc., I'm pretty sure, from a personal perspective that I'm the same person in both places. By "same" I do mean "as close as possible", meaning that I don;t really have an on, and offline personality. I is who I is! See you all later! :)

Comment by Alan Levine on March 23, 2012 at 12:42pm

This is interesting. This is like saying you are a different person when you are in school than when you are at a wedding then when you are at a party at the beach- you may act differently and show different facets of your personaility, but when you are online you are never detached from your body, are you? You may act in different ways, but you are always you. It is a choice you make as to how you represent yourself.

I am saying we are whole people, and like the young woman said in the video, that we expand the circle of what we share in different places.

Yes, I agree that our communication patterns are different, in terms of editing, but likewise, we communicate different offline when we write by hand versus when we speak. 

Comment by GeorgiaH_hpc on March 23, 2012 at 11:34am

I am a different person online compared to who I am elsewhere. Everything I say online I edit and think about whereas I don’t do that in real life. I believe people online are who they want to be not who they are.

People who don’t interact with me online don’t miss out on anything. I believe it’s the people who only interact with me online miss out on the real me.

It’s hard to show your whole personality online. Every time I post something online I edit and thoroughly think about what I say before posting which means that my personality doesn’t always show. When I’m interacting with someone in real life I can’t edit what I say and I say what I’m feeling.

People who I interact with online don’t get to really know the real me. I don’t post my whole life on the internet meaning they won’t know the same information people who know me in real life will.

Comment by Joseph H-PPHS on March 23, 2012 at 1:37am

I am no different online than elsewhere.  When you are online no one can see what you look or sound like.  This means that you can become whoever you want to be.  These people probably wish that they were someone else so they act different online.  I do not think that people are missing out on any part of you if they do not interact with you online.  They only miss out on who you want to be.  I do not think that who you are online is any part of the real you.  I believe that too much online interaction is bad.  I think that everyone has people that actually want to be friends with you in the real world.  Online interaction ruins our ability to socialize.  Most of us who interact online do not see the person who we are interacting with.  This makes it easier to be mean or nice to someone.  We become someone different because we want to reinvent ourselves to who we want to be.

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