#WalkMyWorld #LE1 Where I Begin…

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
 And what I assume you shall assume,
 For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. [1]

My husband took this photo the last day of our honeymoon. We were in Florence at this point, around the corner from our hotel at arguably the most famous bridge in Italy, the Ponte Vecchio, which crosses the Arno River. I was not facing the camera because I had tears in my eyes. I was full of feelings that day… and every day, really. But this was especially profound, because all at once there was beauty (a gorgeous sunset in one of the most art-filled cities in the world) and sadness (our honeymoon was coming to an end), the wonder that travel brings and a sense of adventure that we have always shared together. Most of all, the vitality that we felt as we journeyed together all day and into the night the time we spent abroad.

Thinking about a self-portrait of myself reminded me of so many of the self-portraits we saw in the Galleria del Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Accademia - but I am not a painter or a sculptor. Given that so much of our life now takes place in digital spaces as well as the physical, tangible, I crafted a mosaic using Mosaically to try to capture the best of both. Mosaically scooped a collection of photos from Facebook, snippets of my life that I’ve shared relatively publicly over the past ten years. This app allows the user to zoom in and out to explore the photos used in detail.

These photos are a critical aspect of my digital identity. When we consider our digital identities and their presence on social media, there is always an element of crafting involved and decisions to be made. How deeply do I share? With whom do I share which parts of myself? How does this impact me professionally? What apps and platforms work best for the digital identities I wish to put forth at this point in my life? These are very real questions that I’ve had to ask myself as my career develops and changes over time - questions that have been a focus, in part, of some of the research I’ve done involving the use of social media in education. I hope to continue to explore these questions as we journey together during #WalkMyWorld.

The photos included in my mosaic are sometimes of myself - I purposefully used all of my profile photos, as these are something I’ve intentionally selected to represent myself, my attitudes and beliefs, my interests and hobbies, my loves and passions, my accomplishments.

I also chose to use photos I’ve taken myself. Some of are local bands, others of my cats, still others of nature and other sights I’ve seen over the years. Others are memes and photos of musical idols, comics, and images that represent ideas that are close to my heart and head.

Most of these pictures show me sharing the spotlight, so to speak, with loved ones and friends and animals in my life.

There is definitely more than one photo of me holding up a bass guitar or a new album or some other musical item in there... for those of you that know me, you know that music and I cannot really be separated.

Which parts of my life or photos are missing? What have I culled from my digital identity? What don’t you see? What might we not see about others? What don’t we present to the world to see? More questions we think about when crafting a digital identity.

This mosaic is me. Zooming out, you can see me - the big picture me, but I cannot represent myself without also considering the people and places (the pieces?) of my life that have shaped who I’ve come to be today… and who I might be tomorrow.

[1] Walt Whitman. Song of Myself.

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