8 Comments Notes to Self, Stage Two: Being & Becoming – Profiles as Identities

  1. Raul Pacheco-Vega

    The way I saw the @BonResearch, it was an observer on digital identity and networked performance. So I felt that it was my duty to let it (you) execute the project itself and not intervene. Thus, when you favorited tweets, retweeted, engaged and otherwise interacted, I just let you look through those eyes. As weird as this sounds, as a researcher myself, I wanted to preserve the integrity of your research, so I let you favorite at will and not ask “why the hell are you favoriting my tweet!?”. I figured you were collecting data and engaging with it, and thus in time you’d let me know what you might have found there.

    Hope this helps!

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  3. Kate Bowles

    I found the presence of @BonResearch strangely comforting, not so much a stalker as a curator and keeper of thoughts. This was valuable to me in precise ways because I’m currently undergoing quite challenging medical treatment, and am constantly reminded of the threat that this will affect my memory, in quite literal ways. So I would see @RonResearch come quietly up behind me with her star sticker system, and I felt like something was being kept safe. But I agree strongly with Raul that I felt the keeping was entirely at the gift of the project.

    What I appreciated very much was the sense of collaboration this keeping practice made visible for me.

    On the second question, of the “two-Bon” identity switching (terrible urge to make bonbon joke here), it made me aware that Twitter operates this way anyway. I follow people who switch identity within one account from time to time by changing name or profile pic; but more regularly I’m aware that users already, routinely, change tone for different functions. Some more than others.

    I also follow people who have two accounts: a public account for semi-pro networking, and a kind of secret self. This seems like quite hard work to me.

    Small side line thought: I have never used a picture of me in any of my online profiles. This originally was to do with being a bit anonymous, but because I chose a series of anonymous crowd faces from historical cinema audiences that really became for me part of a conversation about identity-within-spectacle that I’m having somewhat independently with myself — although it made D. Cormier think I was much sterner than I am!

  4. ReadyWriting

    Not sure why I’m using my Twitter handle and not my name here. Oh well.

    I didn’t really think anything of it, to be honest. I understood exactly why you were doing it, and was…amused at times when you “starred” things (really? you want to note THAT?).

    But I’m sort of biased because I “know” you, and I guess as an academic, I have these different writerly identities myself. This was literally “Research Bonnie” who was writing a dissertation, so in the same way I go into my office to write, so to were you going into this Twitter profile to research. But, we’ve also talked to each other using that handle.


    I was just happy to be involved and included.

  5. Catherine Cronin

    What an interesting post, Bonnie – and thanks for the invitation to extend the conversation. Chiming in with Raul, Kate and Lee, I also found it both fascinating and strangely comforting to find you favouriting tweets now and then. You alerted me about your plans for the @bonresearch account when we spoke in January, so the way you used it (if not the issues it has raised) were clear to me. Like Lee, as a fellow researcher I was fascinated and intrigued by some of the particular “favourites”, but didn’t feel uncomfortable in any way.

    As someone neck-deep in researching identity myself, I related to @bonresearch as just that — you with your researcher hat on. I’m fascinated with this aspect of negotiating identities. Decisions (and the occasional angst) about voice, signalling, identity and authenticity take place internally. Our decisions about how to tweet/speak, present and “be” in public spaces happen within ourselves. That momentary pause before clicking “Send Now”? Unseen. Those who receive our signals just read our tweets :) In your case, even though your two Twitter accounts had distinct purposes, I felt they were both authentically Bonnie. I felt your voice and values were consistent across the two accounts, even though you engaged in different activities with each.

    I’m aware of these issues when asking students to use Twitter. It’s not the mechanics of tweeting which hold them back (though there is that), but decisions and dilemmas about voice, openness, privacy, and “trying on” new identities, e.g. scholarly as compared with social identities.

    Rambling now, I think, so I’ll end this long comment!
    But have to thank Kate for making me laugh out loud. @RonResearch — what a legend ;)

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