What is Online Identity?



Online identity is the idea that everything interacting in the digital realm has or acquires a set of data or attributes, both inherent and changeable, that uniquely identify them as a person or entity online. Relevant to issues of privacy and authentication, digital identity encompasses a wide array of contextual and technical identifiers that exist in a ontological taxonomy. Traits can be understood and accepted in mutually agreed upon contexts such as when providing data like name and address for a PayPal transaction, and in the far more technical view that describes the relationships of these entities and objects to each other in cyberspace. Another dimension of this topic is the persona one forges through their online profiles and avatars, specifically on social media.


INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Sam Sam Oct 15, 2015

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Your online identity may foster trust or distrust - ahenneman ahenneman May 17, 2016
  • For Extension to thrive in the coming years, Extension professionals must consider ways they can transfer/expand their identity as a trusted community resource to an online platform accessible by the communities they serve.- amanda.christensen amanda.christensen Jun 1, 2016
  • Anyone can "say" they are representing an institution of higher learning, but social media lacks a method to verify this, unlike the .edu of a website or email domain- MicheleWalfred MicheleWalfred Jun 2, 2016
  • A point I made in the Electronic Publishing discussion board applies here as well: I believe that we should "bet on ourselves" and not assume that consumers will always settle for a "choose your own reality" world, accepting content without question from sources that echo their paradigms. Eventually there will need to be a way of building/verifying credentials/qualifications. It may well be something that gets "hardwired in" to each online presence, but -- whatever this way is -- I believe that eXtension needs to be on the forefront of it. - andersonb andersonb Jun 4, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • More research on effects of sharing differents of information about yourself ... safety issues, etc. - ahenneman ahenneman May 17, 2016
  • Coordinating your personal online identity as an employee with that of your institution - brittany.coop brittany.coop May 19, 2016
  • This description also hints at the development of a personal brand and how that brand is presented to the public is quite subjective. - MicheleWalfred MicheleWalfred Jun 2, 2016


(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • Greater engagement - ahenneman ahenneman May 17, 2016
  • Transparency and increased access to information. - amanda.christensen amanda.christensen Jun 1, 2016
  • Concur with above statements. A verifiable identity that is consistent across platforms is conducive to building trust, and therefore engagement and transparency. - MicheleWalfred MicheleWalfred Jun 2, 2016
  • I believe our online identity as an organization will have a symbiotic relationship with our non-digital offline identity, each enhancing or endangering the other. - andersonb andersonb Jun 4, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • no - ahenneman ahenneman May 17, 2016
  • add your response here

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project Sharing Form.