May 17, 2006
We are all now our own PR agency?
I am increasingly of the opinion that there is a major generation gap emerging between older academics and administrators and students. For the older academics, identity is protected through restricting access to it; by using the language of privacy and confidentiality to talk about it; by preferring password-protected environments. For the younger students, identity is protected by becoming your own publisher and marketer; the emerging consensus is that you control your image and reputation by editing (and circulating) it yourself. By speaking first, not last. This generation gap may yet end up being more socially significant than the much-heralded "digital divide."
You could say the "older" approach is about controlling the availability of information, the "younger" model is more one of spin and damage limitation. Quite possibly this is simply a pragmatic response to the reality of modern networks, media, and social connections - we cannot possibly prevent the information "getting out there", but we can act to manage our reputation proactively.
Perhaps we need to add some PR-savviness to our identity management strategy. Is an ePortfolio comparable to a personal press-pack?
Nice also to see this the day before going off to the I Before E event ("identity management, e-portfolios and personalised learning").