Home > 3.1 Media Utilization, 3.2 Diffusion of Innovations, 4.4 Information Management > EDTECH 543: My Positive Digital Footprint

EDTECH 543: My Positive Digital Footprint

As I prepare to write my plan for a positive digital footprint, I feel I must make a confession.  I don’t share.  I am an intensely private person, which has made social networking a bit of a challenge for me.  I just don’t feel that people I don’t know need to know so much information about me.  I subscribe to a private Facebook page that I’ve had for years, but the privacy is so tight that even my friends with my email address can’t always find me.  Time for another confession; I like it that way.

One of my goals in taking this course was to help me see more value in sharing and connecting over social networking channels.  I realize that I have a valuable voice in the education field but I am the only one who hears it now.  To that end, I need to change my attitude toward social networking.  My plan for developing a positive digital footprint and managing my online reputation is more about getting started than it is about management as I feel that the starting point is my biggest hurdle.

My plan is to:

  1. Completely fill out the profiles on my various sites.  I have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google + that are in various states of completion.  However, there is quite a bit of information missing from them.  People can’t know me if I don’t let them.  I need to fill out my profiles to link “me” to the accounts I have online.
  2. Ensure that the profiles that I build are positive and flattering.  McGinnis (2012) notes that I should also link to positive assets on other sites.  So, I will make sure that I link my positive aspects from one site to another.  I tend to be most active on Twitter and Facebook, so I will link activity there to my profiles and pages on Google + and YouTube.
  3. Create a Google Alert on my name to alert me to any searches done on my name.  I need to see when others search for me to establish trends and patterns in searching.  Also, Zupek (2009) warns that we need to be aware of “cyber twins.”  So, I will make sure that I keep track of other people with my name so that I can defend against anything negative others do.  While I can’t change what is written online about other people with my name, I can ensure that I distance myself from them through information on my profile like city, schools, affiliations, etc.
  4. Keep information current.  I am more of an online lurker than anything else.  I rarely post on Facebook and Twitter though I check them regularly.  In order to brand myself positively, I need to participate.  I will not be able to build a brand and become known for my name and my platform if I don’t participate.  This is a big step for me.  While those who know me can attest that I am far from shy, I don’t always feel that my information is worthy of world recognition.  I now understand that part of making my presence known is letting those who don’t know me see my personality and my strengths through my online contributions.
  5. Avoid following and making relationships with people and institutions that will reflect poorly on me.  I don’t want to be judged by my association with an unprofessional or immoral person or group.  Avoiding those associations should reflect well upon me both professionally and personally by showing that I carefully consider those whom I associate with online.  This adds to my online presence and builds integrity into my brand.
  6. Create content that reflects who I am professionally and socially.  As a student in an Educational Technology program, I have plenty to say about education, teaching, and learning that would contribute to my positive image as a valuable member of my online community.  Zupek (2009) suggests to “make your content useful.”  As a teacher, I do have knowledge that I can impart to others.  Instructional information builds my brand as a person who has knowledge and shares it willingly in a spirit of community.
  7. Build my personal brand by using my name.  I need to tag images and content with my name to help increase my online presence and showcase my affiliations.  This also credits me with the good participation that I perform online.
  8. Make online content public.  I know that everything on my YouTube channel is listed as private.  This is for several reasons.  I don’t check this channel frequently, so I didn’t want to have information online that others would comment upon and require my input.  I now see that this action isn’t helping my brand, so I plan to ensure that all my presentations and online information is public and tagged with my name.
  9. Consolidate my accounts under the same name.  For some reason my Twitter and Facebook accounts are named differently.  I don’t think this was a conscious choice by me.  My Twitter account is my first and middle initials and last name.  So, it’s not too far off; however, the difference in names doesn’t help me become recognized as a personal brand.
  10. Search for myself regularly to see what data is returned.  Once I get my profiles established and begin to post meaningful information, my online presence will increase.  I will need to begin actively protecting my online image.  I need to search for myself to ensure that my information is correct and that it reflects the professional person that I want to the world to see.  If negative information is found, I can take steps to eliminate or mitigate the damage.
  11. Ensure that I am visible on the sites that rank highly with Google (Ensha, 2009).  By creating accounts with the sites that return higher in Google, I can ensure that I am driving the positive information to the top of the search.  Admittedly, I don’t participate much online.  This means that there isn’t any negative information out there about me.  So driving the positive information isn’t about covering up past damage; it’s about creating an online persona that I can be proud to call my own.


Ensha, A. (2009). How to manage your reputation online. Retrieved from: http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/how-to-manage-your-reputation-online/

McGinnis, S. (2012). Online reputation management: A how-to guide. Retrieved from: http://spinsucks.com/communication/online-reputation-management-a-how-to-guide/

Zupek, R. (2009). Build a digital footprint you can be proud of. Retrieved from: http://msn.careerbuilder.com/Article/MSN-2045-Job-Info-and-Trends-Build-a-Digital-Footprint-You-Can-Be-Proud-Of/?cbsid=f3e15c07ff4941689640905d8b03cc68-310638335-x3-6&sc_extcmp=JS_2045_home1&ArticleID=2045&SiteId=cbmsnhp42045&cbRecursionCnt=3&gt1=23000

  1. October 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Nice work! I am also private in many ways. I don’t necessarily want people to know where I live, for example. For this reason, I have been very vague in many of my profiles. When creating my usernames, I have almost never used my real name, but I have used my real name on the account. I am finding that this is not give me a digital presence. I like your recommendation to link accounts-I haven’t done that yet, but I need to. As I am getting deeper into the whole educational technology/social networking phenomena, I am realizing that organization is key, even in a digital environment. I have two youtube channels, but neither is personal. One is for this program and the other is for a rabbit breed group to which I belong. Now I am wondering if I should have made them all one–after all, there is some pretty good stuff on there. You did a great job! Andrea

  2. Anonymous
    October 3, 2012 at 10:27 am


    I have a confession to make too; I have the same issues as you do with social media! Prior to this class, I did not have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and never posted comments on blogs. I also liked it that way. Like you, I took this class to become more familiar with social media. There has definitely been a learning curve. Your suggestions speak to me, though. I never fill out my profiles. This is one of those suggestions social media sites always give me. Even my EdTech Moodle profile is not fully complete. I do like your suggestion #5 about following only those organizations that can reflect positively on you. Because I don’t subscribe to a ton of social media sites, I don’t “like” anything, and don’t post to a lot, I feel like this is a good way for me to start. I also agree that you need to keep the content current.

    Great job!


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