Developing a Digital Identity

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley


Billy Kulpa/Poynter

The term “digital identity” used to bother me. I didn’t like the idea of having an “identity” online, but as I researched the topic more, I realized that a digital ID is more about one’s presence or activity online than a sci-fi kind of identity.

My desire to learn more about digital IDs and the way they play into journalism led me to write an article for The Poynter Institute.

As I wrote on a Facebook discussion board I created about this topic: “As journalists, we’re storytellers. But knowing whether we should be a part of the stories we tell can be difficult. We work to tell the stories of others, but we have stories, too.

I think Facebook, Twitter, etc., can be valuable not necessarily to tell our own stories but to figure out how others are telling stories and interacting with the Web. There are many people who aren’t journalists who spend hours online, creating an identity for themselves on social networking sites.

What are the trends within these social networking sites? What are people thinking about? What makes them so interested in these sites? How can we as journalists captivate their attention in the same way through the stories we tell? These are questions I sometimes think about when I log onto social networking sites”

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about digital identities. Feel free to comment on this blog post, on the Poynter article page, or in the aforementioned Facebook discussion group.