Topic 1 – reflections

Figure. Graphic illustration of my online software usage, categorised by use modes (visitor/resident) and use contexts (personal/professional)

It’s been a hectic but fascinating two weeks! We have received a massive amount of information on making sense of one’s digital identity, i.e. what characterises one’s online presence and behaviour. Below are some reflections on my own digital identity:

I find it very useful to think of online software as just a tool, to be used to do something faster and better than I would have otherwise. In this framework, I would use online software in a professional setting, for the purpose of promoting my own research (e.g. Google Scholar, Website – work), to participate in digital knowledge networks and disseminate one’s research (Twitter), to better communicate or collaborate with my colleagues (Zoom, Slack, Google Docs, Skype, Email – professional) or share my computer code with other researchers (GitHub). The above graphic illustration, following David White’s framework (White & Cornu (2011)), reveals that I should more actively maintain my work website and more actively use Twitter to effectively promote and disseminate my work, and to participate in digital knowledge networks. The same illustration reveals that I am way too passive on Facebook and Whatsapp, to maintain or nurture any relationships with family and friends. I need to change this!

Rather than a large digital footprint, I find it useful to think of a streamlined online presence. I have developed three principles that I will use to guide my online behaviour, 1.) Less is more: Only use the least number of online software possible, while also accomplishes your purposes. 2.) Use for purpose: Ensure you use the software/tool only for the purpose you intend for it. Think about its purpose beforehand 3.) Time-limited use: Ensure the time spent on any software is only a small fraction of your total time. The time spent with a software should reflects its importance in accomplishing your purposes.

With these principles in mind, I have decided to: 1.) Update my work website, 2.) Organise my ResearhGate profile, 3.) Close my two personal blogs since I no longer update them, 4.) Close my academia.edu profile since I now use ResearchGate for the same purpose, 5.) Unsubscribe from many Facebook groups I am part of, to streamline my identity, 6.) Update my GitHub profile with recently released MATLAB toolboxes, 7.) Update my e-mail signature with some of these links, 8.) Build my Twitter profile once I have my own research group and 9.) Think about starting a YouTube channel once I have regular teaching responsibilities.

I will be completing points 1-7 during ONL211. I feel tired already! 🙂

Posted by Nitin Williams

About Nitin Williams

Post-doctoral researcher in Neuroscience Methods at Aalto University, Finland
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5 Responses to Topic 1 – reflections

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  2. Cecilia says:

    Hi Nitin,
    looks like you have a good plan for structuring your online presence. I think you will feel great afterwards 🙂

    • Nitin Williams says:

      Thank you Cecilia, and apologies for the late reply! I very much hope I will feel great after completing the above tasks 🙂

  3. Judit Hahn says:

    Hello,
    It is interesting to read about the principles that you have developed. I am wondering if we need to intensify activities in those platforms where we see ourselves as passive, in your case Facebook and WhatsApp. How does this decision go in line with the principle of reducing time spent on/with the tools and the idea of streamlining online presence? I like the illustration, it is nicely designed!

    • Nitin Williams says:

      Thank you, Judit. Yes, I agree I should be more active on Facebook, Whatsapp, simply because I would like nurture stronger relationships with my family and friends. I will reconcile this the principle of minimising time spent on these tools by allocating ~15 minutes per day for this, i.e. only as much as necessary and not more. Thank you for the compliment on the illustration! 🙂

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