Wikipedia Definition – “A digital identity is information on an entity used by computer systems to represent an external agent. That agent may be a person, organisation, application or device.”
An alternative to this which is much more palatable to me is “The entire collection of information generated by a person’s online activity. This includes usernames, passwords, online search activities, birthdate, social security and purchasing history. Especially where this information is publicly available, and can be used by others to discover that person’s civil identity, in the wider sense a digital identity is a version or facet of a person’s social identity.”
The Digital Self
Art provides opportunity for people to represent themselves.
Photography started with the “carte de visite” leading to the self portrait and then to the selfie. The modern day equivalent of the carte de visite is the computer data which makes up a personal profile on, say, facebook or Instagram (or in business terms, linkedin) – photo, writeup, list of interest, contact details.
Avatars and Alter Egos
There are many examples of false identities being used on the internet. Often this is just a self flattering email address or an exotic chatroom username.
The online game, second life, allows for the opportunity to develop alternative digital persona so that a person can blur the real and the imaginary. It is possible to create a personal 3-D environment and visit others:
Artists digitise work, exhibit and market to others.
Musicians digitise their performances.
The human psyche is multi faceted. Id / Ego / Super Ego.
Does super ego relate to digital self? Not really, as digital self is more contrived than perfect.
After a detailed look at some of the characters in second life, my ideas are developing to use the basis of this detail to write the answer to exercise 4.1.
“Write an entry in your learning log (up to 500 words) about the creation of false or alternative identities online. “
This will be developed in the next blog.
Assignment 4 Planning
At this early stage of part 4, I have to consider ideas for assignment 4 – Digital Identities 1.
Idea: Take a person or group of people. Create a one minute video of each (say three total) describing their digital identity. Photograph them in their working environment and at leisure.
Possibly set up a website to display the results.
But first I need to log my discussion with Richard Weston (professional photographer and friend) relating to Assignment 4 planning.
Following my own personal brainstorm on the subject of Digital Identities, I showed Richard a rough diagram as follows:
The discussion started with an analysis of the diagram looking at groups of ideas which may be of interest. It was important to choose a subject which I was passionate about. The first idea was to interview various people and discuss their digital identity producing short video clips about each one. This was my original idea but we also talked about false identities and avatars and, influenced by the course material referring to the avatars in “second life” we started to come towards the idea of a web based exercise looking at Facebook and Instagram. we talked about different approaches on facebook and considered whether there was a particular behaviour which would be of interest. I have a nephew who is autistic and who gains tremendous strength from the facebook community. Would that be a good subject to study?
But our conversation kept returning to false identities and in the end we agreed that the project should be based on setting up a new identity within Facebook and Instagram and monitoring how a digital identity could be developed from nothing.
The blog Assignment 4 – Digital Identities 1 continues from this point.