When I first began reading about Digital Citizenship and our Digital Footprints, I approached it in the mind frame that we were trying to erase or cover-up or footprints. When I think about my citizenship in the digital community, I had the mindset that when googled, hopefully you would find nothing about me. As I began reading and learning about digital Citizenship, my mind frame began to shift.
I am very comfortable with technology and previously have been very careful to keep myself private online. When hired as a new teacher, the school district does a very thorough and in-depth overview of digital access, law, and etiquette. They were very clear about keeping Facebook private and being careful emails. The message I received as a new teacher was “cover it up.” SO when I googled myself for a class project recently- I was happy to see that not much came up. However, when I added “teacher” after my name I was surprised about the first page results that appeared.
Did you know that you can find any teacher’s salary in the state of Washington? This was the 10th hit that came up on google for my name. A first page result! The source is the Kitsap Sun. It had my name, age, school I currently work at, how much I make a year, how much I pay for insurance, benefits. Everything but my address and social security number. I was aware that as a public employee, my salary was public information, however I did not realize how available it was.
When I first read the steps in “Controlling your digital identity is as easy as 1-2-3”, I was expecting a list of tips to help “cover-up” your digital footprints. While reading the steps I was surprised that they seemed more like a way to put out even more information about myself. It says to “make videos or podcasts about topics important to you.” Then gives an example of a high school student who, “ When you look up Armond McFadden, you immediate know what this young man is expert in.” (Nielsen, 2010) At first, I didn’t think I wanted people to know more about me. I would prefer to hide or disappear from the internet. However, the more I thought about it, I began to realize that maybe it is time to start controlling what people see of me. If I put deliberate information out there, then they will see what I want them to see. I would be in more control. When someone googles me, instead of finding my salary as a first page result, maybe they would see my personal blog, professional twitter feed, podcasts with topics that are important to me, and other professional information
When “Controlling your digital identity is as easy as 1-2-3”said “take control of your digital footprint” (Nielsen, 2010), it made me begin to think of my cell phone. I always have my GPS on and on my new updated version of my android phone, it now tracks and stores all the data about me. So that means that somewhere out there are all the places I traveled and someone can even find me at any point. It also made me think of all the apps I download on to my phone. Every time I download an app it asks for permissions. I never really pay attention or care that much, but now I am beginning to look more closely at the permissions. I don’t know who the creator of the apps are, and now they have access to my information like, call history, location, search engines, photos, etc. I feel like my digital footprint most likely won’t convey the message I want it to.
The most intriguing part of this new definition, is how people are using their digital citizenship to self-promote and advertise. There are so many articles, tweets and blogs about personal branding through the digital world. Once again, I have the notion that people seeking employment, should check and make sure everything is hidden. It seems the new trend is actually the opposite. People are deliberately putting information into the digital world to promote themselves. This goes beyond LinkedIn. On her website, Meg Guiseppi warns against being a lazy job seeker “thinking that if you put out a few feelers and get your updated resume onto plenty of job boards, you can sit back and wait for interviews to roll in. That makes you a passive or REACTIVE job seeker, instead of the PROACTIVE one you need to be.” (Guiseppi, 2012) We need to have a larger presence online to make ourselves seen and known in the way that we want people to.
However, Frank Sonnenberg, a marketing strategist, who has written four books and published over 300 articles cautions “While it takes significant time and effort to build a solid reputation, you can destroy your standing in the blink of an eye. A flaming email, a sarcastic remark, a neglected “thank you,” or a missed commitment is all it takes.” (Sonnenberg, 2012) Personal branding is a fast and easy way to get your information and personal philosophy assessable to many. However, personal branding is a fast and easy way to get your information and personal philosophy assessable to many. This statement needs to be read twice. We need to remember what Sonnenberg’s advice- your reputation takes time to build and can be destroyed in a blink of an eye.
I have begun to take control of my digital citizenship and have begun to define my digital footprint. That way instead of people making assumptions or guesses about who I am and what I stand for, I will have created a very clear and refined definition of me.
Guiseppi, M. (2012, 01 16). The lazy c-level executive job search. Retrieved from http://executivecareerbrand.com/
Nielsen, L. (2010, 07 18). Controlling your digital identity is as easy as 1-2-3 . Retrieved from The Innovative Educator
Sonnenberg, F. (2012, 02 7). Reputation: You can’t run from your shadow. Retrieved from http://www.stumbleupon.com