Sunday, May 08, 2005

Identifying Oneself on a Blog

I read an interesting post on Will Richardson's blog regarding identifying oneself in a blog. His reference is to students, but the issues are the same for anyone. He talks about the possibility of future employers (or lovers!) googling your name and finding things written years before which would then reflect on whether or not to hire you. In my naive (50 +) head it never occured to me that would happen. Yet I realized, that if you google my name, you do come across items from as far back as 1990. The Internet keeps a long term record of thoughts that we have made public. To me, one of the strengths of blogs is that we can put down ideas and then objectify them both for ourselves and for others who read them. Although the discussion may be public (it is incredible that we can include the world in our conversations), how long do we want our fledgling ideas to haunt us? For it is in discussion that we clarify and change our thinking. Those first ideas may get turned on their heads once we have had the chance to examine them. How do we encourage this aspect of blogs without fearing the way the future may interact with it?

In an article linked from Weblogg-ed Making Teachers Thinking Visible, the author addressed teacher accountability. Will fear of a threat to one's job interfere with healthy discussion of educational issues? Many people talk about 21st century skills - one of which is learning to learn. Blogs can enhance the social aspect of learning by opening up the community of learners to a larger constituency, thus enlarging the variety of backgrounds and points of view. It is through "messing about" that we can open our minds before solidifying our "final polished" ideas.

Are pseudonyms the answer? I admit I have not put my full name here. Still nervous as a new blogger? When I admire something I find in a blog or on the web, I do google people's names to see what else he / she has written. Any solutions? The doors are open to interchanges. We don't want to close them out of fear and create online gated communities.

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