6. Identity in a Digital Age


Week 6 Theme: Identity in a Digital Age

How does authorship help to construct personal, social and political identity?

AGENDA, February 28, 2018

Click here to join the live synchronous chat at 7 p.m on Wednesday, Feb. 28

  1. Renee reviews your learning
  2. View and discuss: My Digital Name, An Origin Story How is identity influenced by mass media and popular culture? 
  3. Research is a Conversation. Pair-share activity. Use what you learned by taking 1 or 2 key ideas from Buckingham’s essay on identity and through dialogue, generate some possible research questions. Post your questions on this Google Doc as you work with your partner.
  4. Review homework assignment for next week


  1. The Week 7 theme is Creative Collaboration: Why are partnerships so powerful when it comes to creating media?
  2. Take a look at a LEAP 2 project created by another team and notice some of the key content and features, including the use of images. Reflect on your thinking and feelings as you encounter their work. Then, offer a brief interpretation, including questions and ideas that the work communicated or raised for you. Post your interpretation on our Facebook Digital Authorship Closed Group, making sure to clearly identify the work you are commenting on.
  4. Create a vlog entry on this Flipgrid page to respond to the readings below where you identify 2 – 3 key ideas from the readings below and discuss them in relation to your personal and professional identity.  After posting, view the vlog of another student and offer a brief video comment, with questions, feedback and response.

If you were unable to participate in the “live” synchronous class, please watch the recorded video and answer the question, “How is identity influenced by mass media and popular culture? What factors contribute to young people wanting a “new name”?


3 comments on “6. Identity in a Digital Age”

  1. After watching the digital author, Jacke, in the video I began to think about students who want to change their identity to become more popular or “cool” in society. Instead of just finding a name that he liked, he choose one that he felt fit his identity of being a Star Wars fan. By taking an idea from a Star Wars cereal box and his interest in Japanese he formed a new identity for himself. I think that this video was his way of sharing his new identity of Jacke instead of Keith. He also talks about using this name to get followers for his band that he is promoting on social media.

    I think that Jacke feels the need to create this new identity to become more appealing or memorable to the media rather than Keith. By connecting this name to a fictional idea from Star Wars, he might feel more accepted by a group of people, like Star Wars fans, who can appreciate his new name/identity.


  2. Mass media and popular culture are one of the main tools that we use in developing our identities. Even people who don’t embrace mass media and popular culture shape their identities in relation to these dominant forces: they exist in opposition. We identify ourselves as fans of certain movies, actors, musicians, politicians, laws, personalities, characters (Team Edward), Netflix series, channels, platforms and creators and, and Buckingham pointed out, build relationships by connecting with others who share our interests. This isn’t anything new–we’ve always had subcultures like Deadheads, punks, Mods, rockers, zoot suiters.

    We shape our own identities online, and as Buckingham said, we make these choices within the business model of the company that owns the platforms we use. For example, Facebook is shifting the way they will allow us to shape our identities. They don’t want us to build identity over shared news stories and memes (that didn’t turn out very well). Instead they want us to use special interest groups to build identity and community, listing fan communities of tv shows and movies as examples of the kinds of groups they want to support. It seems like they’re trying to put the genie back in the bottle. We’ll see what kinds of fandoms and groups grow with this new focus.

    Picking a new name reflects a desire to identify with and communicate/perform a new interest or role. It can also be an attempt to gain online anonymity. A new name can show creativity and individuality, stepping away from the identity parents give, or relate to ethnicity. New names also give people the chance to behave differently or be seen differently by the world.

    I remember watching my daughter play Club Penguin when she was really little. I was shocked by the way she behaved–she was kind of a bully, getting in people’s faces and interrupting couples. She most definitely didn’t act that way in real life (I think). Is that the way she wanted to act in real life? Or was she simply trying out being transgressive in the safety of the online world?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In the Jacke’s story, we can know that mass media and popular culture have a strong power and it effects people’s thinking of identifying themselves especially when they are young.
    There are many media contents that have reproduced with continuous connections across diverse forms of media such as TV show, Video games, and PC games. Star Wars was the case for Jacke. As Jacke mentioned, through enjoy the media contents, Jacke feel like living the world of Star Wars created by Star Wars contents and act like a character in the Star Wars movies. It was strengthened when diverse format for certain pop culture were existed as Jacke’s case.

    Having enjoyed the media content, Jacke needed a new name that defined his identity in the virtual world. Because it was a new way of communicating with the world through new media. Mostly they want to be named in relation to what they like and are crazy about, and hope that the name can represent a special self-identity.

    In sum, I think a new world created by mess media and pop culture, people’s engagement about the world, and their hope to represent themselves are factors contribute to young people wanting a new name.



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