Yes, you should have a digital footprint…and keep track of it
When I first started mentoring teachers the advice that was given to them was to try to avoid having a digital footprint. Don’t comment on blogs and above all don’t have profiles on myspace or facebook. I brought a different perspective to the program, feeling very strongly that it is important for teachers not to avoid having a digital footprint, but rather to make sure they build a positive one. We talked about the importance of being conscious of what they posted online, and to make conscious choices about their privacy and make the appropriate setting changes on social network sites.
I think it is important for teachers to have an online presence. In order to stay current they need to be enlarging their global PLNs, reading blogs, and interacting with a global online community on many levels.
I also think it is very important for them to keep updated on their digital footprint. More employers are looking at potential and current employees’ digital presence. We are also hearing more and more about incidents where others have written slanderous statements about teachers and have created fake profiles on social media sites. It is important to keep up to date on what others are saying about you online, and it is not enough to simple ‘google yourself’ once in a while.
A recent blog post, ” My Top 10 Social Media Monitoring tools that you should start using today” outlined various tools that can help people and companies monitor their digital footprint. My recommendation to teachers is that they do the following things to help them keep track of their digital footprint:
If you don’t have a Google account yet, sign up and set up a Google reader account. Besides being able to stay current on all your educational blogs and websites, you will also be able to set up Google alerts on your name. Every time your name is used online you will get an alert posted to your RSS feed in Google reader. If you don’t want to set up a Google reader account you could just create alerts and have them sent to your email account as well.
This site allows you to search the various social media sites. You can either chose a specific one, or have them search all. After doing your search you can set-up an email alert, or have it go to your google reader. Just like above, every time your name is mentioned on these social media sites you will receive an alert.
This is another great search tool that allows you to search for any topic, in this case your name, and then set up an RSS feed to keep track of who is saying what about you.
Any other advice out there for new, and veteran teachers about creating and keeping track of their digital footprint? Add them here so we can share with others.