I always find something valuable in Martin Weller‘s postings, and taken as a whole, they represent the academic embrace of 2.0: enthusiastic, tentative, exploratory, playful and somewhat laden with tension.
He is particularly good at reflection on academic identity, something I (and proably many of us) have been/are grappling with. His post celebrating his third year of blogging is an excellently concise examination of how blogging has not only informed his academic practice but also his academic identity.
This is interesting, particularly when we consider the validity of this new medium, Arguably, posts such as The VLE/LMS is dead will be (are being) referenced as much or more than the peer-reviewed journal articles that will appear 12-15 months from now at the earliest.
All of which makes me reflect on my own practice here, and I feel somewhat split. I (more) actively blog elsewhere on utterly frivolous matters; I have prescences on Twitter, YouTube, flickr, Last.fm, delicious, etc etc, but I have parallel versions of many of these that are more professional/academic. Yet these are less fun (see how infrequently I have updated this blog?).
Should I merge my identities? My Twitter account is already somewhat merged with a mishmash of professionals, personal friends, popstars and random spamladies following me. Each time I tweet, I consider how this looks to all of these groups (except the random spamladies). That tension is a little uncomfortable, even if it is part of the value of Twitter.
But I would argue that developing an online identity is a crucial part of being an academic (or maybe just being a citizen) – there is an online identity for you out there somewhere, you just need to find it. And when you do, nothing will be the same again.
As I contemplate my online identity (and that of those that connect with me), I wonder if I need to ‘merge and dilute’ or maintain distinct personas. Whatever the choice, nothing indeed is the same.