You have to be fickle.
First there was Compuserve, Diaryland and Friends Reunited.
Then AOL, LiveJournal and MySpace.
Then along came YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr.
and Google, Facebook and Twitter.
A one stop shop would do me fine, thing is, I far prefer Wordpress over Blogger.
What image should we use to portray ourselves?
Is there such as thing as best practice? Ought it to be like joining a gym, we have a snapshot taken on a webcam and this current image, no matter how it comes out, becomes who we are?
Do so few of us dislike or distrust what we see when we look at our faces in the mirror each morning?
It has been the subject of research, role play in online education; I'd like to do some of my own. I began a year ago with this.
I liked the picture, felt it was healthy, robust and confident and confident.
I should have looked at the date on it. August 2004. Happy and sunny days. You age under stress and from the mid-40s it doesn't take much to add ten years -all that sun in the past, being unwell. As I write below, his spirit, like mine (I hope) remains that of an enthusiastic twenty-something. The same occurred with the Elluminate session we had in H800 the other day, the tutor on the webcam (initially in a scratchy black and white image) is not the person who goes by in the General Forum. Are we all guilty of this. Men included? We go with something in our late thirties or early to mid-forties?
I then went with this.
An image I long ago used in my eleven year old blog. I wanted something that was indicative of the content and would last. I'm still inclined to run with this. It is indicative of what I think blogging is all about - the contents of your mind, what you think i.e. you 'mind bursts' as I call them on numerous blogs.
Facebook personas sees me in a number of guises
While on Skype I use a image taken with the webcam on the day of an online interview - this is a month ago, so as contemporary as it gets.
I have this image fronting Tumblr taken 21 years ago.
In moments of euphoria having just successfully negotiated a 15m pond of slush on a pair of skis in front of a crowd of early May skiers below the Tignes Glacier, France. The day I proposed to my wife. We'd be 'going out together' for three days ... we've now been together, well 21 years. In my original diary we could create banner ads to publicise what we had to say to fellow writers. One of these has a spread as long as the contents of my diaries and blog: they run from a 13 year old Head Chorister in cassock and ruffs, though gap, undergrad, to add exec, video director, with four woman I didn't marry.
Increasingly, I am thinking of using a self-portrait, that this attempt to capture myself through my minds eye
is more telling that a photograph.
I could use the drawing I did of a 14 year old
What amuses me most here is how I superimpose these attachments as if I were in a school play, the beard is clearly on the soft face of a pubescent boy - I should have looked at my grandfather for the face I'd get, with the more bulbous nose and pronounced chin. Talking of which, I find it intriguing that I am the spitting image of my grandfather, that my own children see images of him age 20 and think it has to be me. All that changes as he ages into a 40 and 50 year old is he goes bald, whereas I am thus far limited to a thinning of the crown.
This I'm afraid, if the age of my children in the rest of the picture is something to go by, is some seven years ago
My only reason for picking it is that I haven't renewed my contact lenses and am inclined, after twenty years wearing them to give up. Maybe laser surgery when I have the cash? This is contemporary. It doesn't say who I am, just 'what' I am. Wearing a child's hat (he's a dad), the headset to record notes onto a digital recorder (for a podcast), a coat he bought for honeymooning in the Alps (we went skiing) 18 years ago …
I have of course not changed much since 1977
It takes me back to the original point - who are we? how do we representative ourselves online in a single image when we are all a sum of a complex of parts? Is it any wonder that we present multiple selves online, the more so the longer we've lived? I don't remember my father being around to take this picture. though clearly he did. I do remember the great-big wellies though and the joy of water spilling over the top if I could find a puddle or pond deep enough. And the jumpers knitted by my granny (sleeves always too long). And the trees in the garden I climbed behind. And my sister and brother … How set in were the learning process by then?
The Dracula Spectacula, People's Theatre, Newcastle.
The teeth were made from dentine and fitted by an orthodontist.I rather foolishly sharpened the fangs and bit through my own lip on the last night. I had to sing while gargling my own blood. The joy of memories.
- Could a daily snap taken when looking in the bathroom mirror be used to tag memories from that 'era' of your life?
The Balliol Annual Record 2010, and some late Christmas Cards, arrived on our doorstep this morning.
The Balliol Annual Record, the print version of LinkedIN or even Facebook, has had its day; it was a few months late, which hints at its demise. The news is thin, I'm in touch with College Alumni through LinkedIN in particular, Facebook a little bit - even Friends Reunited.
Every word that I read here should be online, I dare say it is.
I shall therefore vacuum pack this issue in the belief that it has to be the last.
Not even my father in law has a word and he's been contributing for the best part of 60 years. I'll see him in a few hours time and ask about this. I'm inclined to podcast him too, I have some questions regarding the migration of his School for Leaders to an online course - or at least modules that can be enjoyed largely when and where you wish. At 85 it is staggering how engaged he is with the new technology and what it can achieve.
Looking forward to how the OU reinvents itself on 2011; I know things are afoot.
If anyone reading this has a foot in the door I'd love to come in and do what I do best - stand back, observe, contemplate, then offer ideas from a rich and variegated career.
P.S. a spellcheck that doesn't recognise Facebook as a word is due for the scrap heap. Surely the OU can tie in to the OED??
Collating evidence for H808 ECA. Interestingly, in a parallele existence, I'd say that all the criteria I meet for H08 I have duplicated in Plenck and the LinkedIN Oxford Alumni E-learning group.
What I learn from engagement with like-minded enthusiasts is already outweighing what I am learning from this course; is this par for the course?
How come I know people who will be or are more qualified than the MA ODE can offer without ever having gone through these hoops?
Meanwhile, for reasons only known to her, I have read and chewed on a book from a psychoanalyst on the dilemma and trauma of the English School boarding school boy. I was packed off age 7 years 11 months and after a few aborted Colditz-like escapes got out age 16 years and 9 months.
I've been dealing with the fallout these last 18 months. My wish?
That I'd never, never, ever been sent away to boarding school.
Forty years on I am trying to undo the damage the places did to me.
'Sausage machine' is a good term for it ... the brutal bullying without anyone to turn to is something else. And yes, I had to fag and got out because I had no desire to be put in the position as a Public School Prefect (and for a variety of other reasons, including being told I could not take Art, would have to play rugger over swimming, could play the lead in Macbeth if I cuddled the new English Teacher and would not have a girlfriend until I got to my gap year or university).
Oh, and I hated the House Master and his assistant who were clueless dimwits who could never have held down a job outside the system.
These places in the 70s still expected to churn out obedient servants for the Armed Services, or the Civil Service or the Colonial Service ... to feed the public school need for staff.
This or your Pater & Mater owned most of Northumberland or Sunderland so education would be the only little bit of suffering you needed to endure before you could be ejected as a Prefect ready to be prefectorial over your minions.
My mission for 2011? Campaign to close all public schools; the current scam whereby they retain Charitable Status if the most laughable abuse of power, quite as bad as MP's expenses as a challenge to 'the way things are done.'
'Yes', says the new editor of Prospect Magazine, Bronwen Maddox.
I have much respect for this journalist having read her in Broadcast Magazine, the FT and Times over a couple of decades.
'Yes, I see it, and I refuse to be distressed: the good outweighs the bad, and the change is unstoppable.' Maddox, 2010. Prospect January 2010
Two points I'd like to develop here: privacy and the unstoppable nature of advances caused by e-technology.
Exposure, disclosure and loss of privacy has been discussed in the blogosphere for a decade. I recall the debate starting in 1999 when Ellen Levey (now a director of LinkedIn) had herself featured in the Washington Post. She had spent 1998 blogging about every meeting she had, looking for connections and links and pondering the value of such actions. Since then we've had many people exposed for the things they share online. Facebook and Twitter are simply expressions of the same desire to 'share' with blogs, social networking and twitter different expressions of this.
Are people recording and storing Skype conversations?
Especially anyone with an Ego or a mischief in mind.
There is no going back to a world without e-learning. Though e-mail might be transposed by texting. Though MySpace has been flattened by Facebook (and who remembers FriendsReunited?) Though Google has superseded Netscape - and Amazon no longer only sells books. And at any moment something new will wash over this digital ocean like a Tsunami. (Pinterest? Instagram? StumbleUpon?)
In relation to e-learning I think we've barely started to see or fully consider the profound changes it will make to educaton - those who are e-taught could leave others in the wrong century when it comes to learning and developing potential.
Maddox, B (2010) Foreword. Prospect. January 2011.
A healthy debate over the use of photographs has developed in our Forum.
What is best practice?
There needs to be common behaviour for a start. If some of us show our faces while others do not, or put up abstract images or symbols then I'd liken this going to a dinner party and finding some people in fancy dress, or eating alone outside ... or hiding under the table.
There is a very good reason to 'show your face' - there is not better way to relate to someone, or to 'tag' a piece of text.
As a swimming coach I now coach or teach or have responsibility for nearly 300 children age 5-17. I know who they are because I recognise their faces. This is what we humans do, faces are of such vital importance, even our field of vision is defined by the scale and detail of a face.
The choice of picture matters too. Why half hidden? Is it recent? And the mood? Would it ideally look like the Mast Head for a Newspaper ... or ought it to be more modest and reflective, not quite a passport photo but equally bland?
What do people think?
How do you represent yourself?
Do you have a different picture for different sites or do you use the same picture each time?
Is this you in the last year? Or the last decade!
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