Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Nothing on the internet is written in pencil"

Today I've been participating in RSCON3.  This is an excellent, free, online global education conference connecting more than 8,000 educators worldwide.  The first session I participated in today was presented by Will Deyamport and was entitled What happens online stays on Google:  how to develop and protect your online brand.

Will explained that your brand is your digital footprint and represents who you are, what you are and what you have to offer.  It reflects your values, interests and passions, whether you are active or idealistic.  It shows what you have to offer, your skills and the things that make you special.

It is the things that you choose to communicate that tells the world who you are and what you have to offer.  This includes pictures, video, sites or groups you choose to join and the people you associate with there, for example who you follow on Twitter.  These are the things people first see if they do a Google search for your name.  It's the first impression that people have of you - and this is what builds your reputation in the online world.  Everything you do online creates a positive or negative image of you.

Will gave us some rules to live by:  
He suggested using the same picture and bio on every site. He talked about the importance of  choosing a professional email address - if possible use your name - for example on GoDaddy you can create your own email address or even your own URL for almost nothing.  Be mindful of what pictures and texts you post or send.  You want to put together a cohesive package of who you are.  A picture is worth a thousand words so you don't want people finding embarrassing videos or photos of yourself in unsuitable clothing or drinking alcohol or in bars or clubs.  Of course there should be no sexting, sex-tweeting or flirting online - remember anyone can copy and paste what you post and these things can often be found, even after you think you have deleted them.  All these things can negatively affect your personal brand.  On sites like Twitter you should be aware of who is following you too (and what they look like!).

What you should do to promote your personal brand?
Be authentic.  Post pics and videos of your teaching, presenting at a workshop or conference or volunteering at school events - with permission and inline with your community standards.

How do you find out what your personal brand is?  
Google yourself, create a Google profile and link it to other sites about you or created by you. Remove unwanted content.  You can remove a page from a Google search result and you can get notified when your personal data appears on the web.  A good place to go to do this is
Me on the Web which will show you how to create alerts using the Google Dashboard and remove a page from Google Search results.

This is an important topic and one we have to get across to our students who are probably more likely than us to be posting inappropriate content on the internet that could later be found by future employees or universities.  Students need to remember to respect themselves and others.

Photo Credit:  Footprint by Raul Lieberwirth AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works 


  1. An excellent article Maggie. An area that I teach my students about as they often give no thought to the consequences of posting online. I remember one boy telling me that he didn't want to post on his blog anymore because he was worried about how he might be portrayed. This is when I introduced the concept of controlling your digital footprint so you put your best foot forward :)

  2. This has given me an idea for our Who We Are UOI - I'll chat to you about it at school. Great post (as usual)!