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CamGuides: Managing your Digital Presence



A laptop with a 'set up a blog' screen showing, and a person working on it

As a graduate student, you'll need to understand your own digital practices, how you interact with digital information, and how you operate online. This includes things like your digital well-being, developing a professional digital identity, using social media for academic networking, and protecting yourself and your data online.

It's highly likely that you're already engaging in these practices to some extent, but as you begin a new course you might find that this is a good time to review and reflect on what you're doing, and perhaps to revise how you are operating online.

What's in this section?

In this section of CamGuides we'll cover some of the transferable digital practices and and common digital experiences that students encounter. Use the links at the bottom of each page to move through the different topics, or skip ahead to those you think are most relevant to you by using the menu on the left hand side (or at the top if you're using a mobile device).

The goal of this section is to get you to reflect critically on your current digital practices, and to consider some of the ways in which you might improve them. This does not mean that the aim is that all graduate students should or must use social media for academic reasons, or that you should be behaving in a particular way online; rather, it is simply to ensure that you are conscious of the ways in which your digital practices can have an impact on your professional and academic identity.

A blue clock face indicating 15 minutesTo complete this section, you'll need: 

  • Approximately 15 minutes.
  • Access to the internet. Nearly all the resources mentioned here are available freely; where an institutional subscription is required, this is made clear.
  • Some equipment for jotting down your thoughts. A pen and paper will do.
  • A personal policy to work through each part, or select the ones you feel are most relevant. Either approach is fine, and valid.
  • Nothing else. To complete this section, you don't need to sign up to any platform or give away any personal details.
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What are your digital practices? 

There are many ways in which you can begin to understand and explore your digital practices, and having an awareness of this is helpful as you consider how you can be a digital student and especially in consideration of your online identity as a graduate student.

A particularly useful method of considering your practices is the Visitor and Resident metaphor, which is a way of identifying how you engage with websites and online media.

  • In Visitor mode, an individual uses a website to complete a specific task - such as finding a piece of information - and then goes offline. They do not leave any social trace.
  • In Resident mode, an individual uses a website to connect with other people, and tends to leave a social trace e.g. a comment or a post.

Visitor and Resident are two ends of a spectrum, not categories, so it's perfectly possible to be both at once. 

Think, then, about a handful of websites that you visit or use regularly. On the spectrum between Visitor and Resident, where do you feel that you sit. Perhaps your behaviour encompasses the whole spectrum at different stages. 

More information about the Visitor and Residents metaphor

Image credits

CC0 by Victoria Heath via Unsplash

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