Adventures in Creating an Online Alter Ego

For DS106’s Camp Magic Macguffin semester, I have created an alter ego online so that I can engage in an alternate narrative that ¬†does not bind me to my own online history. All of my online activity vis-a-vis DS106 need to appear to emanate from this person. Having managed permissions on large CMS systems in the past, including Sharepoint, I figured no problem, right? Well, there are no problems, except in my apparent inability to grok the ramifications of what I’m doing. But, that’s what online learning is about, trial, error, trial, error, tear out hair, more error. Eventual solution. Trial, error…

As I fix one thing to make sure that I’ve covered my tracks, another one has popped up. Here is a favorite scene from Abbott and Costello that haunts me during these kinds of experiences (unless YouTube stops me):

With that in mind, here are a few lessons I’m learning. By the way, I performed all of the following steps in the wrong order. What I’m hoping to tell you is how to do it right so you don’t experience what Lou is experiencing above:

1) Start with WordPress.com: You’ll want to create a new WordPress.com account. If you already have one, create a new one with an alternate email address and identity. In my case, I used my Yahoo! account email, and then forwarded that to my Gmail account. These days, by the way, Yahoo! charges you $20 per year to forward. I think they’ve caught on about this new Google thing…

2) Gravatar: Associate your alternate email address with your WordPress identity and upload a new gravatar.

3) Twitter: Create a new Twitter account, and use the same image you used for your gravatar.

4) Soundcloud and other services: Associate them with your Gravatar email account, and your Gravatar identity should carry through.

5) DS106: I needed to create an additional account on DS106 associated with my new identity.

6) Be Mindful: I have to keep mindful of logging into this and that with the right identity. I’ve slipped up more than once, and will no doubt continue to do so, which is part of the fun. The character is in service to the narrative, not to me, so if I mess up, it’s possible that this can be woven into the narrative in some way. I’m not worried, unless I apply for a job somewhere and someone asks me something like, “It says here that you are an unemployed music teacher with a drinking problem who is obsessed with guarding her footlocker. What do you think these experiences could help you bring to this position?”

I’m sure I’m still doing it wrong, and that there are other steps of which I need to be mindful. If you have any suggestions, or have other experiences with online identities that may help, I’m all ears.