Digital Literacy, Identity and a Domain of One’s Own

I must have about 10 domain names. That’s a lot less than some people I know, but 10 more than most people. Two of the domain names are those that I own on behalf of other people (my children) while the rest are for various projects and things I’ve done over the years. My doctoral work neverendingthesis.com is on one of them. I’ve got projects I share with other people (tidepodcast.org). And, of course, I have a canonical domain which includes my first and last name (dougbelshaw.com).

Ten years ago, if I knew someone primarily through online means, you could guarantee they had their own domain name. It was just before the big explosion in social media use which meant that if you wanted a space online, you had to create it. This provided a barrier to entry in terms of the digital literacy skills required to register a domain, set up the necessary software and, of course, design, build and upload a website. The upside was that your digital identity was yours. That domain name could be your gamer tag, it could be your real name, it could be a heteronym — it was up to you!

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