Thoughts on Digital Footprints

With the advances in technology and social media, everyone should be aware of their digital footprint.  However, I have witnessed numerous people in the past ten years post messages and photos on Facebook and other social media that should be kept for private messages.  In addition, I see people using e-mail and text messages without thinking about how their written words are a permanent record.  I don’t think people realize that whatever they post on a computer and on the internet is something they cannot erase.  I’m not sure what we can do to educate people on how to use social media and the internet appropriately, but I still see it happening.  

For me personally, I have performed a google search on myself numerous times and I am always surprised at the amount of information about me that you can find on the internet.  It is not sensitive information, but I am a private person and I feel a little worried that people can find out a lot about me by performing a google search.  It has pictures of me directing a grade level music performance at a school I used to work out, a couple of 5K race times in different states that I ran in, volunteer organizations that I served with – all of which cover the past ten or more years.

I keep my Facebook settings as private as they can be, and I really don’t use Facebook at all.  My friends get upset with me because I don’t post updates or pictures, and they can’t write on my wall.  But I choose to manage it this way because I am a private person who prefers old-fashioned phone calls and letters, and I’ve seen too many people use Facebook inappropriate ways.  It’s not worth my time, or my career.  I also don’t like being tagged in other people’s photos, but I haven’t figured out a way to change that setting.  If, and when, I have children I don’t think I will use the internet to share pictures.  I would not want pictures of my children getting in the wrong hands.

I reflect on the ways that social media may change for me after this class.  First, I know I will learn to utilize social network for professional development.  My goal is not to feel overwhelmed and find ways that it works for me and my personal and professional goals.  Also, I didn’t know that you can request information be taken off of somewhere on the internet.  It is something I would like to do, if it is possible.  In summary, I would like my digital footprint to grow in a safe way, providing opportunities for myself and other educators to share knowledge benefitting the students we teach.  

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