Archive for Moi-Je par soi-même
This is another contribution to the digital identities case stories repository, in the Pattern Language Network. Case Stories describe critical incidents of practice, highlighting key design challenges and possible solutions, They can be found at: http://purl.org/planet/Cases/
What was the setting in which this case study occurred?
Recently I have applied for selected job positions within international organisations in Europe. As soon as I had finished preparing and submitting my CV, I started to assess my online presence in case a potential employer ‘Googled’ me. I did not have any issues with my blog or my Netvibes universe: although they can always be improved, for example, making easier the access to relevant and structured information, they are in fact always prepared for public scrutiny! However I had a nagging thought in the back of my mind about my Twitter account.
What was the problem to be solved, or the intended effect?
Although I was reluctant to use Twitter, I fell into it in 2007. At the beginning I used it only for personal purposes, but I soon began to tweet about my professional activities as well, mixing personal and professional tweets as my life went on. I was wary of privacy issues and always paid attention to what I tweeted. However, I did not want to build a fake public persona by carefully selecting tweets and retweets according to the editorial line ‘what am I doing now that makes me look great’? (replace ‘great’ by any other self-aggrandisement adjective).
So I have happily tweeted as a professional, but also as a mother and a citizen about all sorts of things that fill my everyday life – when life was clement enough to leave me the time to do so.
A few weeks ago some events made me reconsider my twitter activities:
a blog post on the Internet titled “Is twitter my new CV?”
the proliferation of fake public personas within the EdTech panorama who are effectively using their Twitter accounts as an eReputation trampoline
I realised that my Twitter account is definitely not my online CV in action and I did not want it to be. I am not building myself as a professional using Twitter. And I don’t want people to build my online professional profile based on my Twitter stream.
With this idea in mind I reassessed my Twitter stream and found a portrait of myself that wasn’t uplifting for my professional self: a mother busy living a challenging life.
What was done to fulfil the task?
I didn’t want to delete my Twitter account, I just needed a fresh start. As a consequence I decided to delete just the Twitter stream and decide later whether I was interested in continuing to twitter or not. I deleted all tweets using TwitWipe, a tool that deletes all your tweets in one go: http://twitwipe.aalaap.com/login.php. When my Twitter stream was deleted I tweeted an explanatory message announcing that all 573 tweets had been wiped.
What happened? Was is a success? What contributed to the outcomes?
Deleting all my tweets feels like a success. I instantly felt weightless, without worries about the kind of professional profile that people can build by backward screening my Twitter account. However, given that the number of tweets in a profile are an identity marker, I would have loved to keep this indicator. I don’t want people to think that I’ve just discovered Twitter!
Since I deleted all my tweets I also feel less pressure to use Twitter. I have only one tweet explaining that I have erased everything else, I don’t have to twit anymore as well. I can escape from the banal world of ‘Hello Twitterverse!’ I do not even open my iPhone Twitter app. My life has changed: I have more time to concentrate in important things and be productive. I can always blog!
What did you learn from the experience?
I gained a better appraisal and management of the so-called spontaneous and ephemeral online activities.
December 29th, 2008 • 7 comments Moi Numérique, Moi-Je par soi-même, Pourquoi ça n'arrive qu'à moi?, Technologies sociales
Tags: Allaitement, Autoportraits, Breastfeeding, Digital self, Femmes, Flickr, Moi Numérique, Moi-Je, Nu, rhiz08, Social Network Services, Social Software
In the field of the Eduserv workshop on digital identities, the 8th January 2009 at the British Library, Steven Warburton and Yishay Mor invited us to share small stories in which we are the main character (or at least a first-hand witness), and which we believe illuminates an interesting aspect, or dilemma, of digital identity.
A few have been collected already : about disaggregated identities, about the pressure of existing within a Twitter community, about students hands-in-hands friends in FB with teachers, about the impact of an online identity in online job search, and also about the exposure of a teenager photo by a counsellor without a full understanding of of CC licences. Yishay also prepared a short presentation that provides guidance to the task with the STARR template.
Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres!
And because, I’m also a STARR, here is my story: Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres! This is a Spanish saying my mother repeated me to death when I was a teenager. Literally translated into English, it will be: Tell me whom you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are. But the saying translated into another form would be:
- Hunt with cats and you catch only rats
- Birds of a feather flock together
- A man is known by the company he keeps
I have a Flickr account, since 2004. I have always used for both personal and professional aspects of my real persona. I also have a Flickr account for my avatar, Paz Lorenz, since 2006. I use sets and collections to separate personal and professional content. But also to separate different parts of my personal life. I don’t want my self-portraits mixed with my kids. In this first account, I haven’t really engaged in rich conversations with other Flickr users. I didn’t feel the need to complete my profile, I have only 33 contacts, most of them real life friends and belong to a few groups, mainly related with spontaneous and brutal art. Opposite to Paz who maintains a richer social life and spends her time flickering.
My accounts are frequently aggregated by other users who make me their contact. Some of my photos are added as a favorite, and commented. As a consequence, a part of me is automatically added to other people’s profiles and photostreams: I appear in the list of contacts of a given user. My photos appear in the users’ favorite collection, associated, out of context, with other photos, according to a criteria I don’t necessarily perceive or understand.
My problems started with a photo that my older son, Sariel, took of me, while breastfeeding my newborn Forest. In one year, ‘Happy breastfeeding’ was seen 3,464 times. My photo started as a project against people who complain because of breastfeeding in public places, after two awful encounters where I’ve been told to ‘stop doing that there”, even though it was discrete and I had a scarf over the head of my one month old baby.
As an answer, I wanted to replicate a photo of another Flickr user that unfortunately isn’t public whose title is ‘For you pervs out there. . .’ In this photo a mother of a toddler is breastfeeding her child, while she gives ‘fuck you’ sign straight to the camera. The photo, as many other of the kind, is published in the Go fuck yourself Flickr group. So I wanted to do the same: nurse not so discreetly while looking straight into the eye of those people who condemn breastfeeding in public and be rude and angry. But this was impossible with my little clown taking the photo. We couldn’t be serious and didn’t help but laughing out loud. And the result was this:
Since, the photo has been marked as a favorite by many ‘pervs’ who maintain fake Flickr accounts where they do not post any photo, but where they collect other users photos showing nudity, partial nudity like mothers breastfeeding showing part of her breasts or children without Tshirts playing in the nature by a hot summer. Suddenly my photo and I appeared associated to pornography, among the contacts and in the collection of users who are also member of ‘Mature women nudes’ and ‘Delicious oral sex’, just to cite the less offensive groups.
When I realised that this was happening, I defined a personal rule regarding my content in Flickr: to block any contact or fan of my photos who is associated with pornography: publishes porn photos, belongs to porn groups, has porn favorites or invites one of my photos to a porn pool.
I systematically monitor accounts of people who establish any virtual relationships with me in Flickr, and if not compliant, I block.
As a consequence, and to remain those who do not know how blocking functions in Flickr, these users:
- Can’t comment on my photos (All comments on my photos made by them are deleted)
- Can’t comment on my sets (All comments on my sets made by them are deleted)
- I am removed as theirs (They can’t add me as a contact again)
- Can’t add my photos as favorites anymore (Any of my photos marked as their favorites are removed)
- Can’t blog my photos
- Can’t add notes or tags
- Can’t send me FlickrMail
This obliges me to follow up my social activity closely, as I don’t want to be associated or to have my 4 kids associated with these people. Naturally, I could have set my collection to private contacts or friends-only. But I don’t want this. I want a public collection of photos. And ‘Happy breastfeeding’ is my provocative public statement on breastfeeding.
Not directly related, I also don’t tag my children’s pics, so they are not overexposed. And the titles in general are name+date. I changed most of them to be only accessible by contacts and left only the portraits for the public eye.
The main realisation was that there is a time consumption issue associated with the management of private-public content on the Internet. Most of the mothers who put their children photo on Flickr are subject to this kind of problem, and yet one faces a dilemma between restricting photos to friends only or deploying strong policies for control of interaction around one’s images. Hence users develop their own strategy to control these issues, like:
- using FlickrMails in a chain between mothers to investigate the good intentions of a certain Flickr user. Followed by massive blocking and reporting abuse.
- using one’s profile to explain what type of interaction policy is suitable for one’s account. Like another of my contacts who states in her profile:
“my pics tells about love and sharing, proximity between parents and child, nothing sexual in it i precise!!! i DO NOT wish my pics to be added as favs on people’s account who are looking for erotic or porn aspect , neither be added as contact i am therefore very happy to share my pics with people respectful to that opinion, motherhood is pure… thanx!”
I became more aware of certain threats that have an impact on my digital reputation. The ENISA Position Paper No.1 Security Issues and Recommendations for Online Social Networks was an enlightning read that increased my understanding and awareness of these issues.