Have you ever Googled yourself? You know, just to see what would come up? If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to do so. Put your name in Google, put quotes around it (so it only searches for your name) and see what you get. Chances are you may find a few links to people with your similar name. For me, I often find information about William M. Bass III, an american forensic anthropologist best known for his work with “The Body Farm“. But, if I look down a little further, I will find my website and other references to me online. This represents a portion of my digital footprint, the digital information that can be found out about me by a simple Google search.
Let’s face it, more and more things are online these days and there are more ways to share information than there ever have been. It’s important to know what kind of information there is about you because, truly, you need to manage your own digital footprint. Just as you manage your credit, identity, and reputation, your digital footprint is a representation of you but online.
More than likely, if you seek information now, where do you go? It’s probably the internet. Looking to see if a business is reputable? Try looking for reviews online. The same can be said for you as an educator. I ask my grad students every semester if they looked me up before class started. The majority of them have. What about you? Do you think your students do a search for you before school starts each year? They just might.
My point is that you want to control your own digital message. What do you want your students to find out about you? If you Google yourself and don’t find much, is that a good or a bad thing? Will Richardson, an educator, author, and champion of teachers says in his presentations, “Repeat after me… I want strangers to be able to find me online.” Meaning that in our world, identity matters and digital identity is equally important. You want to be Googled well. You. Your students. Your family. Trust me, you have a digital identity. What does it say about you? Are you Googled well?
If you’d like to learn more about managing your own digital identity, let me know. Also, check out Common Sense Media. They have great resources for educators and parents for lessons to help kids to start thinking about what it means to be online and to start creating their own identity online. Colleges and employers are looking. Control what they find.
The following video is one that I often play when I talk about ones digital footprint. Enjoy.