2 Your digital persona
Consciously or subconsciously, you make a decision about how you want present yourself to the world when you meet people face to face, through how you dress or style your hair and the way you communicate with others.
Activity 2 What is your face-to-face persona?
Take some time to think about the image you present to the world. Do you consciously decide what your persona is? Do you adapt it in different situations? What would you change?
Write a short summary of the things you consider when you present yourself to the world in face-to-face contexts.
Chances are that you adapt how you present yourself depending on the situation. However, how often do you think about your digital (online) persona? Your digital persona requires you to make decisions about how you want to present yourself online, but how much thought do you put into this?
Social media and social networks
Outside our work context, many of us use social media or networks to connect and share information about ourselves. It can be useful to understand the difference between social media and networking, as, to some extent, the terms are used and understood interchangeably. Here are a couple of definitions:
‘Social media is a collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.’
‘Social media requires a social network in order to disburse content to those that wish to consume and interact with it. Thus, the social media network is the underlying technology and human connections, while social media focuses strictly on what is being published and consumed within the social networking platform.’
Activity 3 What do you consider when you post on social media?
If you use social media, think about the following:
When you choose your profile photos, which of the following do you base your choice on?
When you post a message or a photo on social media, which of the following do you consider?
How do you describe your use of social media/networking platforms?
I set the security settings to reflect how I use them, such as public vs private.
While these might seem simple questions, they help you to start thinking about your digital persona and how you use social media and networking. In your personal life, you choose what platforms/apps you engage with, what you share and whom you connect with. You’ll have an awareness of whether you are sharing to a private group or publicly to the world.
Your confidence interacting online may depend on whether you prefer to keep everything private, so you have more control over the interactions you have online, or whether you are happy to publicly share information about yourself with the world. If you tend to be more open, you should understand that by doing that, you may receive more feedback, even from people you do not know. Keeping yourself safe online and looking after your ‘digital’ mental health is important. We will look at this later in the course, and in thecourse within this toolkit.