I repeat myself all day long at work. This is partly due to genetics (I am becoming my mother) and partly because I work with middle schoolers. I hear myself stating the following over and over and over:
“Everything you do online is public, permanent, and traceable.”
“There is no such thing as privacy online.”
“It’s not public versus private anymore. It’s public versus less public.”
“Make wise choices.”
“The only thing worse than kids behaving badly online is adults behaving badly online.”
I’m clearly imperfect, but I think I do a pretty good job of curating my online identity. For years, I’ve been choosing what to share and where to share it. I mainly use Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, and WordPress to post/tag projects I do with my students, sights I see on my travels, food I eat, photos I take, articles that interest me, NYC happenings, and other information I find worthwhile.
I try to model for my students and faculty what it means to craft and monitor your digital character, profile, and footprints. I remind them to Google themselves and set up Google alerts to keep track of their web presence. I tell them that since they cannot control others’ actions that may inadvertently or intentionally affect them, they should instead focus on what they can control. To this end, I show them how I purposefully claim digital real estate and populate it with things I choose to share and declare THIS IS ME!
Stuff I try to avoid online: I don’t really share anything personal — clearly, my definition of personal may differ from someone else’s. I don’t use curse words. I don’t use my Facebook account to register for other sites. I don’t use a lot of websites that require me to login. I don’t fill in anything marked optional. I don’t send long emails or argue with people using digital communications; I save that for face-to-face interactions (and phone calls with customer service representatives).
Yesterday, I saw a post on @MitchChampagne‘s blog about digital footprints. He shares resources for educating students and parents about how “a digital footprint is the word used to describe the trail, traces or ‘footprints’ that people leave online. This is information transmitted online, such as forum registration, e-mails and attachments, uploading videos or digital images and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online.”
The full post is here and included this video which I liked: