Month: September 2020


  • What is a digital identity?

According to Eric Stoller (University of Derby), digital identity is a concept based on internet, which consists of all available information on a person or organization from the network community . A person or organization may have different digital identities in different communities. These digital identities are composed of some characteristics or digital attributes. For example, a person is a military enthusiast as a Twitter user while in Instagram, his tag is “animal protector” who always posts some endangered animal.   A digital identity may also be associated with other digital identities, such as e-mail. Although these identity-related attributes can help determine a person’s identity to a certain extent, these attributes can be changed, hidden, or even discarded. Some people show completely different personalities on the Internet and actual life. As digital identities gradually become people’s identity marks on the Internet, more and more experts focus on the authenticity, security, and confirmation of digital identities. Therefore, the technical characteristics of blockchain such as distributed storage, tamper-proofing, traceability and asymmetric encryption provide new solutions for identity authentication and information protection (Takemiya&Vanieiev, 2018).

  • How do personal versus professional approaches to digital identity affect social media use?

Professional identities on social media shows employee or organization’s work-related experience while personal account focus on private life including personal interests.  A doctor will only post medial knowledge and stories happened in the hospital on professional account and share happy time with family on personal account (Mahboob et al., 2019). However, in my opinion, personal and professional approaches to digital identity are not isolated. Many people open two accounts in the social media platform such as Facebook for different purpose. However, even though you and your colleagues only follow each other on professional accounts, they may still find your personal account through related users or keywords. Many employers also consider employees’ hobbies and passions outside of work when recruiting. In fact, 34% of employers check their candidates’ profiles on social media, not just LinkedIn and GOOGLE+ (Smith, 2013). During the 2012 presidential debate, a manager of the KitchenAid social media teams suddenly posted offensive tweets about President Obama from KitchenAid’s Twitter account (over 24000 followers) instead of his own (Kuhl, 2013). In today’s internet world, there is not much distinction between personal and professional accounts on social media. Obviously professional accounts are more official and have more restrictions, but it is not appropriate to post extreme or offensive comments on personal accounts either.

  • How do digital identities converge in networked publics – what are the impacts and/or benefits?

The emergence of digital identity is profoundly changing the way of economy and society. Compared with traditional identity systems, it will greatly improve the overall social efficiency, maximize the release of user value, and benefit governments, service providers, users and other parties.  For example, China has issued an electronic ID card. When the physical ID card is lost, people do not need to reissue it immediately. They can take a flight or train by electric ID card.  At first, digital identity was just a vague concept that people identify the user’s special character according to an account of social media.  With the development of technology and the security of network information, people can use digital identities such as email to book tickets and communicate with the government. Now, the service provider can use the user identity information recorded in the system to customize products and services based on user attributes and purposes. Also, the content published by professional identities on social media platform show the business or organization’s value and target. I believe that the application of digital identities in the future will become more popular and more secure with the popularity of the Internet and the development of advanced technologies.


photo copyright@ Blockchain has found application in cybersecurity. (Image Source: Sociable)


Takemiya, M., & Vanieiev, B. (2018). Sora identity: Secure, digital identity on the blockchain. Paper presented at the, 2 582-587. doi:10.1109/COMPSAC.2018.10299

Mahboob, U., Jawed, S., & Yasmeen, R. (2019). Digital professional identity: Dear internet! Who am I? Education for Health, 32(1), 33. doi:10.4103/efh.efh_232_17

Smith, J (2013). How Social Media Can Help (Or Hurt) You In Your Job Search. Forbes. Retrieved from:

Kuhl, J. (2013). Social media rules. State Legislatures, 39(6), 30.



  • What does it mean to network using social media?

Social media is a “hybrid” media form that has never appeared in human history: it is not only a tool for interpersonal communication like the telephone, but also a platform for mass communication like television. Before the emergence of social media, people could only get information unilaterally from the Internet, and are not able to discuss a hot topic interactively. After having Blog, Twitter, and other social media accounts, the masses play more and more important roles have become more and more in the network.

This hybrid form, coupled with a huge number of users (the total number of monthly active users of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger has exceeded 3 billion (Clement,2020)), so that social media exhibits its huge connectivity. On social media platforms, the interaction between people and people, people and information has become possibility. However, this interaction also faces unprecedented challenges to network. At first, people regarded Facebook’s founder Zuckerberg as a young hero who changed the world, and Zuckerberg also ambitiously wanted to connect the whole world; later, due to the proliferation of security, privacy, false information, opinion substitution and other issues, Zuckerberg has almost become a public enemy.

In short, social media has undoubtedly aroused more people’s interest in using network and enriched the expressions of the network, but at the same time, social media also make people feel distrustful of the network because of the flood of false news.

  • How do people learn engage using mediated platforms?

Due to the rapid development of the Internet and social networks, there are many mediated platforms that can help us learn. There are search sites for academic resources such as google scholar, and online learning website such as Mooc. Also, these platforms will have many interactive quizzes to ensure that people have mastered the knowledge. Also, users in social media platforms can learn some new knowledge that haven’t heard before. For example, there is a largest social media platform in China called Weibo. A user there called “丁香园 (Lilac garden)” who is a doctor posted plenty of medical related knowledge during the COVID-19. Also, using platforms, people can share different ideas based on different experience.

  • How are we motivated to participate in networked publics?

The communality of networked publics motivates us (Rajagopal, et al., 2011). We can easily find an interesting topic (tag) and join a group from Blog or Facebook. Those help us build connection with networked publics and start to share ideas. Also, the network has always been a tool for searching information, and networked public helps us find what we need faster. When you post a question on Quora, lots of people reply you. Of course, you have to identify which answer is right. In my opinion, networked publics will attract people to participate because they have “like and comment” mechanism. Everyone is eager to be praised so they share photos and comments in social media platforms. Also, they are willing to write popular science articles to publics.

  • What are the risks & rewards of public communications?

As I mentioned in the first question, one of the risks of public communications is the privacy. Even almost every platform has “Terms and Conditions” that users need to agree, people’s privacy still cannot be fully protected. Some social medias require registers give permission to album and locations first otherwise they are not able to access the platform. Also, many people choose to target specific group when posting their opinions (Lyon, 2001). If the website has technical problems, their choices may become invalid and the content will be made public to everyone. Another risk of public communications is “homogenization”. Because of social networks and public communication, art and people’s life have a trend of homogeneity. When you are walking on the street, you can see many people wear similar clothes and listen same music since the entire world absorb the same cultural affects from public communications. It reduces cultural diversity, giving us with fewer inspirations.

However, public communications keep us connected. For example, when the epidemic came, the entire world got news in a short time and offered help. Without public communication, it is difficult for us to get information from other places rapidly. Besides, it’s the mouth of voiceless. From social media, I can see a lot of stories of people in difficult conditions. Those stories or phenomenon spread across the platform and attract the attention of the government. A story impresses me is that a father found his daughter who had been kidnapped for 20 years through social media. Public communication will lift up a single voice that may otherwise disappear unheard.


Clement, J. 2020, August 10 .Monthly active users of any Facebook product 2020.

Rajagopal, K., Joosten-ten Brinke, D., Van Bruggen, J., & Sloep, P. B. (2011). Understanding personal learning networks: Their structure, content and the networking skills needed to optimally use them. First Monday, 17(1).

Lyon, D. (2001). Networked privacy. In Surveillance society: Monitoring everyday life (pp. 348-250). McGraw-Hill Education (UK).


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