Occupy Your Digital Identity

I’m giving a presentation today on digital identity at the Heartland eLearning Conference at the University of Central Oklahoma, and, above, you’ll find my opening audio slide show, which features me reading lines from Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself.”

“Song of Myself,” of course, is the quintessential look at identity, with its sweeping, majestic lines about the American experience.

Whitman writes:

I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,
Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff
that is fine,
One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the
largest the same . . .

I wonder if Whitman would see social media through his democratic view as instruments of the people to express, as the poet writes later in the poem, “the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands.” It might seem trivial to conflate Facebook and Twitter with the prophetic ideas of one of the world’s greatest poets, but consider how social networking has fueled both the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Doesn’t each of these occurrences reflect a human continuity and an augmentation of what happens in all “ages and lands”?

My overall presentation, “Occupy Your Digital Identity,” is less poetic than my opening slide show, but it’s always worth it—especially for technology’s first adopters—to step back and examine how the cultural ramifications of social media and the Internet, in general, reflect historical patterns that have always connected us.

Here are some other presentation titles from the conference scheduled for Tuesday:

mLearning Heroines & Heroes: Concerns, Technologies, & Approaches
Academic Integrity on a Digital Campus
Globalizing the Online Business Course
Social Media in the Classroom: Attraction or Distraction?
Creating Multimedia eBooks
Utilizing @SocialNetworks to Assess Programs with the #Twitter Generation

It should be an interesting day.