During our first day of synchronous lectures, my mouse hovered reluctantly over the ‘raise hand’ function on Teams a number of times. I laughed at my hesitancy and wondered what was causing it. I told myself that it was the first day and understandably, I wasn’t completely sure how to approach the session. I reassured myself that next session was going to be my time to shine (or at least, contribute). Upon reading Floridi’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy later that afternoon, I began to feel a little more anxious about my lack of input. Floridi states that every person is an ‘information channel’ and that ‘what we transmit and how we transmit it reveals our identity’. Of course, Floridi is referring to our data shadows online and how they are being used and, in some ways, manipulated. But, I couldn’t help but relate this to how my identity was being formed and conceived by my peers and our lecturers. If we are all information channels, and I wasn’t giving out any information, what did that make me? A saying that Lyn quoted comes to mind here: ‘garbage in, garbage out’.
As recently discussed during lectures, our lives, and our identities on this course, are essentially made up of information – we are inforgs. Floridi claims that ‘our dignity rests in being able to be the masters of our own journeys and keeping our identities open’. Although Floridi writes about this in terms of protection of our data and our privacy online, I couldn’t help but relate this to me forging my own ‘journey’ within this course, and transmitting information through the relevant digital platforms, namely WordPress, Twitter and Teams, without feeling anxious and overly self-conscious. This led me to think about non-digital natives and how they must feel day-to-day online, if a ‘digital native’ like me is finding it this challenging. Within the chat function on our DITA week 2 teams meeting, one of my peers stated, ‘We can’t assume ‘digital natives’ are proficient users [of digital technology]’, and true to form, I related this back to me and my anxiety surrounding these platforms. Floridi believes that ‘the digital divide will be amplified as the infosphere gains more traction.’ With this in mind, I am determined not to let my initial technological inhibitions create a divide between me and my cohort.
Hearing Lyn say that it takes ‘courage’ and ‘a lot of practise’ to speak in a digital forum filled me with hope and comfort. To know that a seasoned professional believes that my internal technological battle was a tangible thing gave me confidence that I could take control of my own online identity within the course, and be the master of my journey. In reference to the title of the second DITA lecture, I now had hope that in this case, I would not ‘be assimilated’, and rather take control of my ‘onlife’ identity during my studies.
Despite the initial anxiety surrounding the use of technology during the pandemic and beyond, I am extremely excited and optimistic about the positive ways in which I will channel my information, and what I will learn from doing so. Now I have taken steps to take control of my ‘onlife’ journey and have posted this blog, it feels liberating. Despite already being a digital native, I feel I have a new found power to take control and seize this opportunity as a portal into the infosphere wherein I can navigate my identity and understand how I will fit into this space.
(Image courtesy of Oliver Hoeller)