So I changed my Twitter name from @r_o_y_a_n to @royanlee. There was some pretty entertaining banter on the ol’ Twitter stream around, first, the absurdly-annoying-to-type nature of my original handle, and then my change, particularly lead by the mirthful Couros Brigade (@courosa and @gcouros). Here, my Twitterholics, is my explanation.
I first started my Twitter exploration in the spring of 09 thanks really to two tweeps, @danikabarker and @kentmanning. At the time, I wasn’t on Facebook (let alone Twitter), didn’t have an RSS feed, and knew as much about blogging as Your Uncle Joe.
I distinctly remember meeting Danika and being taken by her enthusiasm for technology. I was stunned when she informed me that Kent, a man I had never met, had written about me on his blog:
“And are you on Twitter, Royan?”
“Um, no, I don’t really know much about it.”
“You should really check it out.”
Check it out, I did. I made an account with the username @royan, then promptly forgot both what the password was, as well as which email address I used to create it (to this day, I have no idea how to be @royan, my preferred handle, again). Then, as I continued to traverse the Twitterverse and get my bearings, I went through what is I am sure an all too familiar stage in one’s Twiducation: Intrigue/Fear.
I really want to post, but who’s gonna read it?
Am I arrogant for thinking someone would be interested in any 140 characters I have to say?
Do I want my students, colleagues, administration, and school community to be able to find me on Twitter? Do I even want my family to?
What’s the point of all this?
There were really two main reasons I chose @r_o_y_a_n as my handle. First, I wanted the closest thing to @royan I could find, and thought I was being pretty darn clever with the underscores. Second, I wanted to preserve some anonymity, foolishly thinking that one’s Twitter username really had anything to do with how anonymous one is.
But here is the stage I am at with social media now:
I love it. It’s fun.
It’s one of many things I need to be the best professional I can be.
I don’t want to be anonymous. I want to be me, period. And I want to craft my online persona and Googlability so I have complete control over it.
Although your Facebook or Twitter identity tells the world an immense amount about you, it still isn’t really you. It’s a representation of who you are. This is partly why I have concerns when we exclusively use closed environments such as moodle in education. There is an element to it which is akin to learning how to drive a car using a video game.
A literate young person needs to understand how much control they really do have over their digital footprint, and then practice taking those steps with the help of teachers and peers. What if internet safety actually meant doing what the following Epic Fu episode suggests?
I was fairly surprised to discover how many of my beloved tweeps actually lamented the demise of my old carpal tunnel persona. Sorry guys, live with it, and stick with me. I ain’t changing it again:-)