This week’s course readings did not sock me. For once, I was not surprised or dismayed at what I was reading or viewing about the digital world. Many times I have heard stories about employers searching prospective employees online. However, what I did do is make a connection between these articles and my students’ blogging efforts.
Blogging is a great medium for digital learning and networking, but is also a social media platform. However, it is much different from the more closed and simplistic tools that teens use such as texting and SnapChat. What I discovered is that some students do not recognize that their blogs should not use the same writing style or simple content as a text or snap to a friend would. It is about writing in a creative and engaging way (like SnapChat can be), but more academic, just as they would for their ELA class persuasive essay or personal reflection. Check out my recent project post for more on this topic and my classroom blog post that I created to help guide my students over the coming week as they discover what blogging should look like from a teaching/ learning perspective.
Our students need to understand that they have to go beyond social media activity that is “clean” or not of a bullying nature, to really developing a profile of who they want to be seen as. Therefore, they must recognize how different digital tools are used for different purposes and impact their digital footprint in different ways. A goofy text or SnapChat with the current lingo that teens use is not going to be widely read, but their blogs might.
Blogs are a great way to develop a healthy digital footprint, which takes a long time to build. Blogs can provide enduring presence and are much more detailed than an old-fashioned resume, therefore as educators we have to make sure students learn how to blog. The article Blogging is the New Resume explains how blogging can become the resume that individuals will need in the future, but that this process takes time. Even if the paper resume is not quite dead, students need to be aware that their online presence much match the paper version employers are looking as noted in tip #10 of 12 resume tips by Jeff Weaver.
Our students need to be aware that what they blog can actually begin building a positive and enduring footprint could let to a job or entrance into a post-secondary institution down the road. Blogging is a key way to help build their online resume, but other social media profiles like Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube should also be considered in the same light. As Madden and Smith of PEW Research point out, reputation and social media are clearly linked. There are not longer closed doors to our lives so we must carefully self-monitor ourselves. This is a skill that we need to teach our students and practice ourselves. Although I have searched for my online presence before, this article motivated me to do it again and dig a bit deeper into the search to see if I could uncover not only more about me, but things that I would not want online. Self-monitoring is not just searching online, but considering how that information impacts our lives and how we can control what is posted by ourselves and others. So as my students continue to blog, I’m certainly thinking about how self-monitoring is another critical skill that they need to be taught and need to practice to curate the digital footprint AKA the new resume that they want to have.
I challenge you….Google yourself again- but this time with reputational management in mind- dig a bit deep in your search and then think about how you might change privacy settings, de-friend certain individuals, ask others to remove certain photos, actively create positive postings such as blogs, etc. It is you footprint so take control of it.