digital-business-cardMy class just finished a module on their digital footprint. Many, like myself in the past, did not think much about their digital footprint and their professional lives. I saw social media as a tool for just the social and I now realize it is so much more. In the past six months, I have thought about my own digital footprint and how I want to present myself online. I consider my digital footprint as my global business card and of course I want to put my “best foot” forward.

In his new book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online (2012), Howard Rheingold writes, “… whether or not we do anything about it, the webbed world is full of information about us that is provided by other people, including their opinions about us—the fact of life we know as reputation.”  Rachel Zupek in her blog states: “Not only has the use of the Internet, social networking sites, blogs and other new media skyrocketed in recent years; all of these things have revolutionized the job search.”  Christina shared in our discussion forum:  a quote from Diana Graber, “Employers are increasingly conducting digital background checks on applicants before entrusting them with jobs. Today our digital footprint is our new first impression, and it starts taking shape the minute we go online.”  Adrianne shares a study, Build a Digital Footprint You Can Be Proud Of states, “In 2009, 45 percent of employers used social networking sites to research candidates, according to a CareerBuilder survey, a 23 percent increase from last year. Thirty-five percent of employers said that what they found caused them not to hire a candidate.” So we must claim, enrich, and protect our digital footprint!

Cassandra shares in our discussion forum a quote in Forbes “By claiming your web presence, you’re protected from other people, with the same name, claiming it before you. You also gain control over how you’re perceived online, and thus what employers find out about you when they conduct their search.”  Craig Badura has created a Digital Citizenship Survival Kit which he has invited educators to share.  The most important point is for us to strain out the possible bad stuff.  How to Clean up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First Impression gives detailed instructions for the beginner and beyond.  The steps include:

  1. Find Out Where You Stand
  2.   Beef Up Your Online Presence with Better Profiles, a Nameplate Site, and More
  3. Keep Your Best Foot Forward

 Many students shared this quote, according to Henry (2012),”While turning up nothing means no one will find anything bad, it also means they won’t learn anything good about you, and that can be pretty bad too.”  The challenge is to balance our need for privacy and developing a personal digital business card.

So this semester, along with my students, I am going to develop a footprint that presents the “best me”. Our first assignment is to develop a professional online profile by the end of this module. Yes, mine needs work! I found this link which help me plan: How to Create Effective and Professional Online Profiles. The steps they outline are:

1.       Establish your expertise

2.       Captivate your audience

3.       Write outside the box

4.       Right size

5.       Write robust headlines

6.       Don’t oversell