Before taking the digital studies course, I only had basic knowledge of digital identities which consisted of updating my facebook account every few months out of the year. I never paid attention to twitter, never knew the intricacies of Wikipedia, only paid attention to gif videos in online blog sites, and only read online blogs that pertained to sports and video game reviews. Each of the social media trends I just listed were projects I completed for my digital studies course, knowledge I am thankful to have learned in order to keep up with the ever expanding growth of technology and social media.
The first step to establishing my digital identity was to create my own webpage, which I accomplished using umw.domains and installing wordpress, the appropriate platform to incorporate my creativity and create a website representing myself. WordPress allowed me to change the outline of my webpage and create whatever lists, catalogs, and links I wanted in order to connect my site to the world. With my site followjeremy.com finally established, I was then able to upload all my creative works from both my DGST101 course as well as my digital storytelling online class CPSC 106. The next step upon completion of my website was to establish an online presence, creating accounts for youtube, twitter, flickr, and soundcloud. Each of these social media accounts enabled a different form of socializing online, involving video, visual, audio, and written media. The next step involved completing the modules for my digital studies class, beginning with the history and creation of GIF videos.
The first module involved the art of the animated GIF, with the objective that my group would learn about the design and history of the GIF format, learn about the technical specifications of a GIF file, explore cultural practices and uses of GIFs, and produce and share GIFs from my group. Before completing this assignment, I was always amazed at how some of these GIFs I would see online were created. Now after making my own, I understand the complexities that can go into making complicated clips, having created some myself. I truly enjoyed making my own GIFs and learning the process, especially once I found the right software that created a product I liked. Moving onto the next module, my group chose blogging, with the goal of learning about its history, experience working with blogging platforms, develop a blogger voice, and measure the engagement with an audience. For the blogging module I focused on political blogging, and I learned a great deal on its impact within the voting community. I realized that utilizing political blogs properly allows politicians or political supporters to voice their opinions or gage the opinions of the voting population. This interaction gives the politician or political supporter the ability to interact with the community first hand, swaying votes and showing the kind of impact social media can make.
The last module my group completed involved Wikipedia, which incorporated learning about the scope, scale, and breadth of the site, how Wikipedia works, and experiencing the editing side of the site. By the end of this module I was able to update information about my Army National Guard unit, Alpha company 116 BSTB, specifically our deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi freedom. There was sufficient information lacking on our duties and responsibilities listed on the website, along with a lack of photos to corroborate our activities. I was able to add information from my personal experiences, as well as photos I personally took from my surroundings. Completing this module gave me a whole new understanding of how much time and effort goes into the amount of information users upload onto the Wikipedia website, giving me a greater appreciation for the amount of work regular users have put in to grow the site into what it is today.
I truly appreciate the experience I have had from completing the modules in this course, and my website has grown in size and creativity because of it. My digital identity is firmly established online along with my social media accounts, allowing myself to garner a new appreciation for the internet and growing trends of social media. The world is growing reliant on technology and without keeping up to date with the trends, I will be quickly outdated. I must incorporate myself into this trend so my digital identity can grow along with it, for the world of technology is ever changing, and keeping up will be necessary.