Last week I was really connecting with the idea of “Digital Natives” and “Digital Immigrants” vs. “Digital Visitors” and “Digital Residents.” I found the discussion really interesting because I often find myself conflicted. My age determines that I would be a “digital native” but I have never felt that way. While I am more comfortable with existing in the digital age more so than many of my elders, I find that I am still hesitant to partake fully in the digital age. I sometimes am naive of the widespread impact my digital footprint can have and I struggle with getting my thoughts and ideas out there for the world to see. This year is my first Facebook birthday, and my Twitter account still consists of only a small network, but I carefully and thoughtfully consider what I post about myself and what I decide to share with the “world” of social media.
I consider myself to more toy with the idea of being a “digital tourist”. Often times I love to visit the world of digital media to see all that it has to offer on both on a personal level as well as a professional. I love to learn about it’s “traditions and customs”, I’m willing to put in the effort to learn a little of the “language” and during my time there I can be come fully immersed in the culture. But like the end of a vacation, it is always nice to come home. I don’t consider myself a “digital resident” because I don’t consider it to be integral in my daily life. Sure I could even see myself as “digital vacationer” the aspect of my digital presence that is very selfish and personal. I like to post pictures of my family and check in on only friends. I can kill an hour on imgur, no problem. But those aren’t meaningful contributions to the digital world.
I think the goal for me is to move beyond being a passive observer to an active participant. I was reading Cindy Adams post this week and agree that there have been times when I wanted to post because something that “pushed my buttons” or had upset me. But as she said, it is important to stop and think. Becoming a part of the “digital world” carries with it consequences and sometimes unknown implications. However there are times when our voices need to be shared in a meaningful way. I applaud Justine Stephanson who is attempting blogs with her class this semester. But as I embark on Twitter with my classroom I am still hesitant considering all of the implications that could result in my leadership into somewhat of the “unknown”. But I know that the “unknown” is a space that I have to get more comfortable with because it is a part of my students world.
In the end I would agree that we do move in a continuum in our digital lives. While I may not be fully comfortable taking up a permanent residence there, I do know that the “travel bug” does exist somewhere within me, I just want to make sure my itinerary is fully planned before I jump in headfirst.