Starting with this topic on online participation, digital literacy and identities I first read about the seven elements of digital literacies. Some I knew, most not. Two elements got my attention: Communications & collaboration (1) and Career & identity management (2).
Here comes a brief insight in my research on those two topics and my reflection. 
1. Communications & Collaboration
This element is described as participation in digital networks for learning and research. Wow! How many people do I know, who are active in this field? May be a few, but as far as I know most of them do not participate in any digital networks, me included. Usual are real networks of colleagues and/or friends. May be we have not yet reached the “Practices” level  in the digital literacy development model of Beetham and Sharpe? On this level participating in digital networks/learning communities and building up knowledge collaboratively seems to be usual. Maybe we are at the moment mainly on the “Skill” level: We can e.g. organize and manage information, can apply this information to problems and questions and use communication and presentation tools daily in our professional and private lives.
Why is the participation-part so relevant? Digital literacies or as
Jenkins et al. call them “new literacies all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking”(p.4). The authors talk about a “participatory culture” in which community involvement will become more relevant than individual expression of opinions. 
Last week I took part in the DigCompEdu Check-In, a 22 questions-self-assessment-tool, to reflect on digital competence as an academic teaching in higher and further education. The feedback and tips I got point as well in the direction of participation and collaboration.
Online participation, communication and collaboration seem to be REALLY relevant, so it was a good idea for me getting started with ONL192 ?
2. Career & identity management
Another topic I did some research on was “Digital identity”. Remember what I wrote in the first topic: At the moment, I mainly act on the “Skill-Level”. “Digital Identity” can be found on the top level of the digital literacy development model.
Anyway, I was interessed  why people create and manage one or even more digital identities in the Web?
There are many good reasons for not having a digital identity, which White and Le Cornu describe in their visitors and residents typology: Issues of privacy and fear of identity theft as well as having a `real social life’ with a network of real friends. You just do not have to socialize online and be visible for others?
Are there also reasons for having and working with digital identities?
David Whites describes in his Visitors and Residents typology as well a continuum between personal and institutional. It might be helpful to look at this digital identity discussion from the personal and from the institutional/professional side.
2.1 Personal
Visibility and Belonging
The Web offers opportunities to express opinions and show the knowledge of people even before they finish their studies or becoming a well-known expert, who is able to publish in recognized journals. Knowing that employers search the web when looking for new stuff and looking at individual profiles, having an online visibility could be helpful for getting a job or for individual careers. Another point might be, that for some people it might be great to have the feeling of belonging to online communities in additional to their private or professional communities in real life.
Personal Learning Opportunities
Being part of an online community or network, may be a learning community, offers a great chance of learning with others. This might not be possible in real life due to restrictions at work or private obligations.
Following Jenkins et al. (p.28), the ability to adopt alternative identities, e.g. in games or simulations, “allows the player to strongly identify with the character and thus have an immersive experience within the game, and at the same time to use the character as a mirror to reflect on his or her own values and choices.”
Furthermore, Jenkins et al. (p. 31) give an example, in which games are used to “simulate the social context of a profession (say, urban planning), and by working through realistic but simulated problems, players learn the ways of acting, interacting, and interpreting that are necessary for participating in the professional community. In effect, rather than memorizing facts or formulas, through performances of being an urban planner, lawyer, doctor, engineer, carpenter, historian, teacher, or physicist the player learns the particular ways of thinking of these professions.” What a great experience!
2.2 Institutional
Being attractive to Customers, Potential Employees and Society
Institutions show credibility with the information they spread. Interesting profiles/identities of employees or students might be helpful for attracting potential customers, employees and society.  Blog post as well as other social media activities are more likely produced and promoted by individuals rather than institutions. Encouraging and supporting stuff professionally practice online to become more visible – for themselves and also for the institution – might be an additional way of marketing activities. 
Setting up fictional scenarios
Jenkins et al. (p.30) offer another example, in which designers “construct personae of would-be users, who can serve to illustrate different contexts of use or different interests in the product.” Putting these personas into fictional scenarios shows, how products may serve different needs. Such scenarios allow people to examine problems from multiple perspectives, learn and try out different approaches.


Seven Elements of digital literacies and digital literacy development model: see Jisc infoNet

White and Le Cornu:


Note: One important thing I learned in this 1st topic is, that it might be a very good idea to post more than one blog post during the two weeks and keep them much shorter! ??
ONL 192 – Topic 1: Thinking on Online Participation, Digital Literacies and Identities