I do think online contexts are important settings for adolescent and adult identity development. Just because someone is an adult does not mean they know who they are. Humans are constantly evolving and so are our identities. There was a point in the article where I connected to what the author said. In “Who am I Online?” it is stated that “The research showed that individuals in ethnic minorities tended to emphasize cultural aspects in their online self-presentation” (Wängqvist & Frisén, pg.12). I connected with this because growing up I did not talk about my Hispanic identity to my friends at school. I went to a predominantly white school from K-12. There were very few Hispanics at my school so I did not have people to bond with over my Hispanic identity. Instead I did it online. I actually had one of my closest friends in high school say “Wait your Hispanic?” She thought I was white the whole time I went to school with her until I told her I knew Spanish. I now realize how important online contexts like Facebook (where I only have my family) was an important setting for me to explore my identity. It was until Facebook where I could openly talk about my Hispanic identity where I explored and claimed my Hispanic identity. Without Facebook, I feel like I would have ignored that part of my identity. It is weird that I felt comfortable sharing the Hispanic food I ate, Hispanic music I listened to, and writing posts in Spanish only on Facebook. In my school setting I did not but on my online setting I could since my friends were not on Facebook. The article talked about how even adolescents identifying with a sexual minority felt like they could talk about it only in an online context (Wängqvist & Frisén, pg.11). This goes to show you that online contexts help adolescents and adults like me develop their identities.
Another aspect of digital identity I found interesting was in the TEDtalk video when Alec Couros said that the “Age of forgetting was over.” We can see this every day in the news. There have been many celebrities, politicians, and normal people canceled over what they have said in the past on their online settings. Racist and sexist posts have been found by people and recovered even if they are from 10 years ago. They are spread all over the internet and ruin a person’s reputation. In 2018, Roseanne Barr from the show named “The Conners” was fired over her racist tweets. The age of forgetting is definitely over. People found her tweets and spread them all over the internet until she got fired. People are getting fired and canceled from old posts and it feels like it happens every day. In a way, it is good because it is holding people accountable for their past digital identity but then again people can change and evolve their digital identity. Employers might take it more seriously to view a person’s digital identity before they hire them so they do not have to deal with the controversy when it is eventually found out. Also, it teaches us nothing goes away on the internet and part of our digital identity is being careful about what we post and not to be a jerk in our online settings.
I think that social networks impact learning through digital identity formation because it allows for communication and collaboration. In “Digital identity formation…” it says that “Studies showed that SNSs support educational activities by allowing interaction, collaboration, active participation, critical thinking, information and resource sharing” (Bozkurt & Tu, 2016, pg. 162). In high school, when there was a group project the first thing we did was give each other our Snapchat. It was how we interacted and collaborated while we made the project. We would ask each other questions about what we needed to do and what we needed to get done. Someone would always answer and it was nice to have a place to talk when class time was not enough time to get things set up and done. We all had our digital identities on Snapchat but we used Snapchat in a professional way. I still have people on my Snapchat from group projects even if we were not friends. We would share links to our resources and touch daily on what we needed to get done. Snapchat did a better job of keeping us on track as a group than the teacher did.