The Mark Ledden Blog

…audio, video, web and general tech ramblings.

My Digital Identity

Hi, my name is Mark and I’m a student at Salford University working towards an MSc in Audio Production. I also did my undergrad degree at Salford so this is my fifth year here! I’m quite a practical person and technically minded: I like to put pull things apart and put them back together. Music is my real passion though and I fill nearly all of my time on things music and audio related. These two major interests of music and technology make this course perfect for me.

Being of the generation I am, I’ve grown up surrounded by computers: I was even the computer monitor in primary school! This only involved turning them on at the start off the day and off again at the end, but who else was going to do it? Back then computing seemed pretty primitive in comparison and I don’t recall any knowledge of the internet at all. I do remember ‘surfing the net’ on our first PC at home which ran Windows 98, while around the same time the IT department at high school got kitted out with flashy new iMac G3’s. At this stage internet connections were painfully slow but it was a bonus when using a computer, just an add-on. These days a computer feels pretty useless if it’s not connected to the internet: It’s become so integrated I feel like I can’t do anything without it! This clearly isn’t true, a computer can do many things ‘sans internet’, but without that connectivity comes a sense of isolation.

I’ve always been a bit behind the times when it comes to online trends (I’ve only had my Facebook account for just over a year!). I think I dismissed it as a fad at first but it was probably more to do with having something so personal online for all to see. I had a MySpace page long before but it was a band profile so it gave a bit of anonymity, or at least helped share some of the spotlight. Anyway, I eventually caved-in under the pressure from my friends saying “you should join!” or “it’s awesome!”. To be fair it was quite useful at first but as the friend list grows it becomes more polluted with pointless updates of peoples day-to-day experiences and it’s becoming something I’m shying away from.

Recently I’ve started using Twitter and have found out to no surprise that I have very little to say! At the moment I’m largely using it as along side my RSS reader for news updates and very rarely tweet anything. I’m more a fan of online tools like Delicious and Google Docs. Mainly because I work on lots of different computers and as I’m constantly reinstalling and rebuilding the ones I have, its good to have my stuff anywhere, when I need it. I’m an even bigger fan of YouTube and have two accounts; one I use for uploading band rehearsals because I regularly forget anything I write or play! and the other I use to upload any video projects I’m working on. What I tend to do is make use of all these sites purely as tools without taking part In the social side but overall though this just makes life even harder without the internet.

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7 responses to “My Digital Identity

  1. Helen February 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    You hit on something very important here: “clearly isn’t true, a computer can do many things ’sans-Internet’, but without that connectivity comes a sense of isolation.” It’s interesting as you are a very ‘functional’ user e.g. GDocs, Delicious – and yet describe a feeling of isolation when not connected; not in relation to people through SN sites, but more in the sense of cloud computing/tagging/folksonomies – fundamentally social, minus the socialising 😉

    • MBL February 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      Yeah, I definitely think the ‘isolation’ idea is interesting; With wireless hotspots all over the place and pretty much full-on internet accessible our mobile phones, we are less likely to be unconnected, but does it also mean we’re becoming more dependant on the internet?

  2. Helen February 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    increasingly so (for many people) especially as we store more of our organisational data online, e.g. Google Calendar is my only calendar now – can’t confirm an appointment unless i can check it, which means being online…

    as we move towards ‘the cloud’ we grow increasingly dependent – unless we have also have some way to store/sync data locally. i’m a huge fan of google docs and delicious esp. in terms of remote/mobile working, but am dependent on being connected. have you ever had any problems in this respect?

    • Mark February 16, 2010 at 12:26 am

      For me the problem arises because the internet is my primary source of information for almost any situation and I’m sure this is the same for many people. It’s all become too easy, anything you need to know is only a few clicks away!

  3. margie's soundscape October 25, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Hello friend. I like the way of your thinking! you know for many years I used to have a computer without internet access, I did not miss it at all that time because I only wanted it to download scientific papers. So every time I wanted to do this I used to go to the university at the open hours. After finishing this work I was ready to go home and do my own work on computer. That feeling was completely different with the one when you know that you can search for the subject of your interest as many hours as possible and sometimes you do not know when to stop. And this thing that anything that you are wondered about can be answered at once, does not it make you more anxious?

    • Mark Ledden October 25, 2010 at 11:28 pm

      Hello there,

      Reading back on this post has made me realise how some things have changed and others have stayed the same. I still can’t cope without the internet and this problem will probably get worse as time moves on. I think full-blown Internet on my phone has had a massive impact on this. No matter where I am I’m always ‘connected’, so I’m becoming more reliant on it.

      With regard to things like Facebook & Twitter, I’ve been totally sucked in by them and now appreciate the different audiences, level of communication and content on the two platforms. So I no longer see them as tools but each as a medium.

      I do totally agree with you on how working on a computer that isn’t ‘connected’ can help with productivity. Without all those distractions I’d definitely be able to get a lot more done. But I think It’s great having all these answers and information so easily available. So I don’t feel anxious in that respect.

      It’s a bit of a Catch-22 I guess.

      Sorry for the lengthy reply!
      Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. Pingback: My (New) Digital Identity « Mark Ledden

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