Last semester I took an English class, Writing Through Media, and I learned a lot about creating different types of media and posting online. Our final project included a digital identity which we created and also edited with some CSS code. The message that I got out of the Writing Through Media class was that a digital identity is almost like an online resume. It shows the online world a small glimpse of who you are. So for that class I had to post my resume online as well as projects which I completed for the class. We could also include other work from other classes. So I linked to one of my previous UMW Blogs on the Wright Brothers for my History of American Technology and Culture class.
Dr. McClurken’s digital identity essentially follows with what I discuss above but is a much more complex site. The site gives viewers an insight to his professional life. He posts about his book, his class blogs, online presence, formal presentations, his c.v., and finally blog posts which he continues to write.
From Dr. McClurken’s site I learned:
–Your online professional identity should be well-organized and not too wordy. The utilization of links provides extra depth to the site so that he does not have too much information in one place.
–You want to upload information that future employers and others in the professional world would be interested in.
–You must be aware that anything that you publish will be available to the entire online community. So be careful with what you post and if you can, provide all source material and references.
I learned a lot from the blog on this site. One post, “What’s your online identity worth?”, reports: “Chow-White told Shaw that, ‘Some of them don’t know the consequences of sharing everything, especially as their digital footprint or digital identity will be walking into the room with them on job applications’” (http://digitaltattoo.ubc.ca/blog/). This applies not only to a digital identity site that one might create but to everything posted online. This means Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and all other social media sites. I have heard stories of people who were not offered jobs because of inappropriate photographs or posts on social media sites. Once it is out there, it is out there for anyone to see.
In my Writing Through Media class, my professor warned us that when obtaining a domain name, we had to be careful in what we chose for several reasons. Many people use their full name as their domain name which can be a problem if the subscription of the domain name expires and is not renewed. For example, an inappropriate site could use your expired domain name and it would appear in a Google search of your name, which then could send the wrong message to future employers, etc. The post, “Easy Tips for Maintaining a Positive Online Identity”, suggests, “For starters, get into the habit of performing a Google search on yourself every month. It might sound a bit egotistical at first glance, but it’s the best way to know what information is circulating on the web. If there are photos or comments you’d like removed, contact the web site administrator immediately and ask for them to be taken down” (http://digitaltattoo.ubc.ca/blog/). This is a very smart suggestion, especially to college students who are or soon will be applying for (permanent) jobs.
In her article, “Build a Digital Footprint You can be Proud of”, Rachel Zupek claims, “Luckily, one of the easiest ways to get rid of your digital dirt is to create digital material of the good kind. Tatum suggests developing your own positive content by creating articles, starting a blog or posting to forums. As long as you can smother any negative information about you, you should be OK in an initial employer search” (http://msn.careerbuilder.com/Article/MSN-2045-Job-Info-and-Trends-Build-a-Digital-Footprint-You-Can-Be-Proud-Of/?cbsid=7741b978037e47c486c61800a7fe1386-308680429-J3-5&ArticleID=2045&cbRecursionCnt=2). This should provide some hope to people out there who have “questionable” content on their social media sites. If it looks like they are taking proactive steps to better their online usage, that will look more positive to future employers who most likely will conduct online background checks on job candidates.
The bottom line is to be careful about what you post online. If there is any question as to whether or not to post something, do not post it.