Thursday, September 26, 2013

Developing your postitive digital footprint

Hi Everyone, 
Our digital footprint needs to be positive. Understanding the importance a positive digital persona carries could be the difference in your academic, professional, and personal goals.  Based on my research on this topic I've made a PowerPoint of ten tips we can adhere to for a positive digital profile. 

This is a glimpse at some of the topics I will be discussing as we learn about branding our own digital image to be as positive as possible.  These ten strategies will help build your online identity.

•Creating a visual identity

•Cross-Link and post your links

•Google Alert Yourself

•Practice the art of unfollowing and defriending

•Develop your PLN’s and Communities of Practice

•Be a Web 2.0 participant not a bystander

•Lead by example

•Separate professional from personal

•Launch your own PR campaign

•Publicize your efforts
Once you begin to project your online persona across multiple programs an online visual representation will associate itself to your name. You should be careful and create a visual specific to you. For example in the power point you will see someone who is a healthcare professional, it is easy to distinguish. If she participates in online actives centered around her profession she will build an online identity or footprint. Having this picture to back that up will provide a positive visual association for her online identity.

 “You should create a visual identity for your professional persona. This picture will be associated with you and your content. To do this, you will need an image to go with your online identity. Paying for good headshots can be a worthwhile investment. Determine the image you want to project. Do you want to be seen as a confident professional or casual person?” (Hengstler, 2010)

My next suggestion based on research is cross linking.  By cross linking and creating a digital pathway of your material, you can double your online exposure. Now that we’ve discussed setting up a positive image, it is time to sell that image to all potential employers as well as fellow professionals. One way to sell that image is to cross link your  contributions or posts within separate web 2.0 tools.
"When you create links of your posts or website or blog, you publicize yourself online, thereby spreading your digital footprint. When you comment on any other post, you could link you name to another forum or blog where your name appears. This spreads your digital footprint like magic.”(Nneka,2012)

 Next I want to discuss being  proactive. When it comes to your digital footprint, be proactive. To maintain a positive social profile means you have to be in control of your online presence. There are however,aspects of an online presence that are out of your control. We’ve learned so far to be in control of your personal brand, but what about the times your friend, who does not share your professionalism, or perhaps does not have the background in creating and maintaining a positive digital footprint causes a problem post with your name on it. This person may not think twice about posting something they find comical and tagging your name on it as well. With Google alerts you can maintain an updated presence by playing defense against such happenings.  The offensive is maintained by being proactive about your digital footprint, the defense is making sure those around you play fair with your name as well. Google alert is one way to do this. "This enables you to know when you name is mentioned online. By registering for Google alerts, you get alerted on your mail whenever your books are cited or whenever a tag of you is created" (Nneka, 2012)

I want to talk more about being defensive with your name. Managing individuals and their content in online networks is another defensive play in building a strong online profile. If you are connected to someone who posts questionable material, then it may be time to “unconnect” them from yourself. Just like the friends that never grew up, we all have people we are connected to, that might not be at the same point and time we are at in life. These types of people can be hazardous to your positive digital footprint.  It can be as simple as them posting and tagging a photo of you from high school out of the blue one day, because they think it is a funny picture. Remember not everyone is going to be as proactive as you are about creating and maintaining a proud digital footprint.

“The practice of cutting someone from your network has various terms, “unfriend” in Facebook or “unfollow” in Twitter. When you build networks, make sure you know how to sever connections. If a colleague, professional, or other person with whom you are networked posts materials that you would consider problematic, privately let the other person know that while you value his/her contributions, some recent content does not adhere to your professional standards”(Hengstler, 2010)
Next we will discuss encouraging PLN’s. We just talked about sifting through those people in your life that might need to become defriended or distanced, in order to maintain a positive digital footprint.  That is one way to play a defense in protecting who you are online. A great offense to take after that would be to then connect with those who are like minded. Start developing and actively participating in personal learning networks and environments with people who are at the same place in life as you. 

  “By encouraging and supporting beginning teachers in developing their own PLNs, schools, and districts can help them forge their positive digital footprints as an educator, provide extensive collaborative support and establish a rich source of ideas and professional development during their first years in the classroom." ( Hewson ,2013)
By participating in web 2.0 you are continually developing your footprint.
“It can start with just a few simple steps, such as joining twitter and other educational social networks, developing a blog and/or commenting on the blogs of other professionals or participating in the myriad of online webinars and educational conferences”-(Hewson, 2013)

A certain leadership quality is expected from all educators. In order to maintain respect in the classroom teachers are expected to be respectful in their personal digital persona. This can be compromised by a negative online presence such as inappropriate Facebook status or rude, sarcastic, condescending twitter feeds. These types of actions are quickly becoming reasons for teacher dismissals.  That is why it is an important step towards good digital citizenship to be a leader. Take charge and show others how in the digital medium.

“Educators are responsible for serving as positive role models for students, not only in the physical classroom but also in the digital world.  This can be especially tough for educators who use social media for both personal and professional reasons”(American Teacher, 2012)
Separating your personal and professional lives in the digital environment is a key component to building and maintaining a positive digital footprint. It is important to remember the content from emails, tweets, texts, blogs and other communications can become permanent records with a simple copy and paste. Think to yourself if your content would withstand the professionalism you are trying to portray.
“Educators-whether at the kindergarten level or the post-secondary level- are always in a position of trust with regard to their students. All your content should pass the mom-boss-professional standards/ethics rule”(American Teacher, 2012)

 Finally, let us talk about launching your own personal PR campaign. Like every product and company a strong PR campaign can be exactly what is needed to maintain or build a positive image. As future employees and educators, building our brand is just as important. You are a brand. You are an educator, and your brand is what you bring to the classroom and beyond. In order to digitally be the best brand you can be, make sure you understand how your digital footprint represents you as said brand. With this knowledge, you can then use everything we’ve already discussed in a wider arching campaign to build you as a product. One way to build this is to publicize your efforts. For example if you are applying to be a director of curriculum or department chair it would be beneficial to have your published works and writing samples regarding these topics available and waiting for the hiring manager.

“Whether or not negative information about you exists on the Web, it’s a good idea to ensure that there are plenty of positive associations. In a competitive job market like today’s, a strong—not merely “clean”—online presence can tilt a hiring decision in your favor. A little effort can go a long way toward presenting yourself in a good light. For example, posting to user group discussions or submitting content to an industry newsletter positions you as a leader in your specialty area. You might also consider launching a website to detail your professional skills and accomplishments or starting a blog about a professional subject with which you are closely familiar”. (Willner, 2009)

“If your online presence is especially strong, make it easy for hiring managers to find positive information about you by including the URLs of these sources in your resume or cover letter.” (Willner, 2009)

Eke, H. (2012). Creating a digital footprint as a means of optimizing the personal branding of librarians in the digital society . Webology, 9(2), 1-14. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from
Hengstler, J. (2010). Managing Your Digital Footprint: Ostriches v. Eagles. Education For a Digital World 2.0, 1, 89-139. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from
Hewson, K. (2013, April 1). What Size Is Your Digital Footprint? A Powerful Professional Learning Network Can Give a Boost to a New Teaching Career. Phi Delta Kappan, 94, 14.
Kosik, W. (2013, June). Big data archeology and the consulting engineer: the digital footprint we create today will help anthropologists tomorrow. Consulting Specifying Engineer, 50, 80. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from
Willner, D. (2009, Jun. - Jul.). Managing your digital footprint. T + D , 63, 84.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Digital Footprint

Digital Foot printing

With great power comes great responsibility. That statement made popular by the spider-man comics echoes everything I've come to learn about our digital footprints. I enjoy technology. I love that at any point in time at the tip of my fingers is the infinite possibility of learning and knowledge. This has allowed us to potentially become the most connected and informed society in the human history. That thought alone completely blows me away every time I think about it. I was sold on technology the very first time I witnessed three mobile phone techs installing a car phone into my father’s work truck and connected the ringer right to the horn. It was obnoxious and awesome ha-ha. No longer do songs stuck in your head go un named, or actors in a movie that you just saw go un identified. All of this however does come with great responsibility. Our connectedness has led to a social transformation led by social media's popularity. Who we are is no longer evident just by our physical actions, but by our digital actions as well. In the movie Gladiator, Maximus Decimus says " What we do in life, echoes an eternity". Think about that quote for a moment. Now think about that quote in the context of how digitally connected we are. What we do now, truly can echo an eternity or, however long our social profile exists, and everything that is attached to it. That is how I view our digital footprints. With the click of a button, the way we conduct ourselves online can be forever logged or recorded. This is not just reserved for when we know what proper netiquette is, but for any age or maturity level. One lapse in judgment now could stay with us for our entire digital citizenship.

What is netiquette? According to Netiquette is a noun that represents the social and moral code of all online interactions among users and social media behavior. It is a concept of appropriate social intelligence while using and communicating on the Internet. Netiquette can be likened to your table manners in an online environment. It focuses on respect, courtesy, and common misconception elements found while trying to communicate a message in cyberspace. Netiquette is appropriate in every online space from social media, e-mails, Twitter, blogs, forum post and beyond. The way we behave in the online environment echoes who we are as a person to those who are not in a physical location with us, but rather in a proxy setting online. Our netiquette directly relates to our digital footprint. A good netiquette and digital presence can lead to a positive digital footprint. It is a common misconception that your digital footprint is automatically bad. Actually, your digital footprint could be a catalyst for good. Instead of having an inappropriate Facebook page, what if your page was dedicated to the charity work you've done? That would send a positive message to any potential employer.

In an increasingly connected world, our online behavior reflects who we are, much like our personality traits affect who we are to those around us. In any environment, you leave an impression on those around you. In our professional lives, we seek to present ourselves with intelligence, competence, and leadership. We tailor our peer interaction to represent these traits in our everyday lives. At work, you treat co-workers with respect. You conduct yourself in a manner, which is both socially and professionally acceptable. You will approach each situation with the same question, how should I handle this situation in a manner where I maintain that I am intelligent, competent and a leader? Netiquette follows these same principals but in a different atmosphere. The importance of conducting yourself in a professional manner at all times in this environment cannot be overstated. What we do online could echo an eternity. It takes one poorly worded e-mail and the click of a button to change the perception of your intelligence, competence, and leadership qualities.

My own digital footprint has been a learning journey. Being part of the beginning stages of Facebook, no one was preaching or teaching the importance of your online profile. I am fortunate that during my college career my professional character was not drawn into question. That is not to say that I have come away unscathed from the digital paths we leave behind. Upon a recent Google search of myself a brand new photo emerged from a website called It is a photo of me sitting on a chair with my arms crossed and a miller light bottle tucked under my arm, I was twenty-two and it was taken eight years ago. I was always very careful never to post any such images to my own personal profile, but was ignorant to the fact that others could easily upload my photo to their page. That is exactly what happened. That photo was uploaded during a vacation I took with a friend. My friend then uploaded it to a photo sharing site called webshots. Webshots was one of the first photo sharing websites much as Flickr is now. I was shocked and hated the fact that the picture still exists and has existed since 2004. My first and last name is all it took for the picture to become forever present in every search of my name. I use that picture now to teach netiquette. I was more careful than most people my age because of my fathers over caring about the changing digital world. I am fortunate that he did instill that life lesson in me and still think to this day how much of a forward thinker he was. Now I make sure to have an online profile dedicated to the professional I am growing into.

This past Thursday I had a particularly restless night of sleep and it was one of those nights where you couldn't get comfortable, one leg out of the covers one leg in, flip your pillow a hundred times, aggravating nights. The type of night where your mind just flips through the pages of what you have to do and any other thought that might be in your subconscious. Then for some reason unknown to me I thought about the movie Jobs, which portrays the life of Apple's Steve Jobs. Then I started thinking about our digital footprints, and in a rush of a corny comparison I was left with the following thought. If you have read Steve Jobs biography or watched this movie, you'll notice that for a long time Mr. Jobs refused to wear shoes. He would walk barefoot all over his college campus, to class, and even when he was working at ATARI he would show up to work barefoot. At one point in time he was even reprimanded by his manager for his actions. So here I am, sleepless thinking about Steve Job's feet. Here is where it gets to be a little on the nose and corny, but still an A HA moment none the less. For the last couple of nights I've been writing  and reading about our digital footprint. It really struck me how Steve Jobs was walking around barefoot leaving his mark and his dream everywhere he stepped and in some literal occasions, where he stepped barefoot. Ironic that he would later produce the devices and software that has helped shape and start our own digital footprint revolution. Once I put two and two together and was proud of my own built irony, I slept great for what seemed to be about ten minutes and then my alarm went off ha. From Jobs beginning in the 70s to our use of most i-products, our digital footprint will be with us for a very long time, but it doesn't have to have a negative connotation surrounding it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Creative Expression-module 2 EDTECH 543

For my creative expression I decide to use a program called Prezi. From the student sample I began to construct my own expressionist vision of what our three concepts represent to me.  I added each picture as it's own path and followed within a set of picture that represented each topic. I learned it is not always easy to put your understanding into pictures.I will note that it is best to view prezi in its smaller format due to its pixalation of expanding images.

 Nonlinguistic Expression

For Connectivism I tried to demonstrate the different types of CofP's, from the Muslim Brotherhood, Occupy Wallstreet, and finally to Boise State football fans. While researching and learning about communities of practice I found a lot of great information. The easiest parallel I was able to draw from it was "fans" and "social movements". One of the articles I reference used how even linguistics can change over time given a community of practice's influence. We can see that when looking at certain chants and fight songs fans have come to adorn as part of being a fan's culture.   I chose to include pictures for connectivism that showed the different social media we use along with some symbolic pictures of how technology is connecting us at great lengths. For my conclusion I added personal networks such as open courseware and other applications and groups that can be interpreted as personal learning networks.


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