The first thing you learn about when you enter the Education program, but it is something I wish I had been aware of from the moment I began using a computer. To think back on all of the items I have searched on google, the games I would play online in grade 5, or the items I would share, because who knew the interests I had and things I did on the internet at the age of 11 would continue to follow me for the rest of my life?
When I first began the Education program at the University of Regina, I was informed how important it was to have a clear, clean, and professional social media identity. Naturally, I changed securtiy settings on my profiles, deleted photos, unfollowed, unliked, and did my best to clean up the social profiles I had been using for over 10 years. When I googled myself, the first few things that popped up were news articles, sports stats from teams I have been on, my facebook page, instagram profile, and both twitter accounts. I had a moment of “phew” all things that are both positive and professional to my digital identity.
But 443 results popped up in relation to my name. Four hundred and forty-three. Wow.
I am sure not every result is directly related to me, some are people I follow or previously followed on a social media outlet, other’s of people who have the same first or last name as me, and even a few comments I had tagged a friend in on a Facebook page. The one that stood out to me, was the dreaded “ask.fm”, a fad website that became popular when I was in grade 9 or 10, a profile I had for maybe 4 months and then deactivated and deleted, but it still pops up on my search. A reminder that our footprints, no matter how small you think your presence was on a website, will forever be part of your digital identity.
Over the past three years of study I have realized how important it is to create a positive digitial identity since it is unavoidable. Use the social platforms to share your philosophy, your beliefs, concerns, and actions. Find a way to bridge your personal and professional identities in a way that is appropriate for your friends, colleagues, and students. I have learned that teachers are always in the spotlight, so instead of trying to avoid it, why not embrace it?
I read a blow post by Steven Anderson (Web20classroomblog) and it connected to what I have been learning in my ECMP355 class as well as provided me with reinforcement that it is better to create an image for yourself than to not be aware of what is out there. The post included this quote: “[It} astounds me when teachers/professors only digital presence is Rate My Teachers/Profs page. If you aren’t controlling your footprint, others are.” by Meredith Stewart. How true are those words? If you do not take the time to create and control your own footprint, someone else will. Especially in this day and age.
Your footprint is inevitable. Make it a positive one.