After reading thorough the articles: Your Online Reputation Can Hurt Your Job Search, Calculate Your “Digital Footprint” With New Tool From EMC and Most Companies Use Social Media For Recruiting, as well as searching for myself, I think the question is not “Should you have a digital footprint as an international educator?” but “How are you going to manage your digital footprint as an educator?”

A Google search of my name resulted in 163,000 results. On the first page they we ALL me, except for one which belonged to an Italian Facebook user in Milan. I have to admit I was quite surprised by all that I found, particularly a conversation my husband and I had using Google Buzz. When I click on the link I can’t see the whole thing, but still why is this snippet even there? What other conversations are out there that I assumed were private?

 

 

I then followed the advice of Kim Komando from her article, Your Online Reputation Can Hurt Your Job Search, and I went to the site PeekYou. Fifteen results showed up, many were repeats of the same person, but I was three of the results. When I clicked on one, it took me to a service called US search and for about $1 I could have access to addresses current and past, who my relatives are, and my maiden name.

So the footprint is there for anyone to access. What am I going to do about it? Mostly I saw that there wasn’t anything I could do nor was there a need to. I am a bit annoyed that the suggested advice is to post and post often to bring all the good things you do to the top of the list. I really don’t want to be bothered to do this, but I do realize that it is the reality of today. If a future employer has to choose between someone with no presence and someone they can see first hand through a blog the type of work they do, it makes sense to make sure I get myself out there.

On Facebook, I came across a high school student with a variant spelling of my name. She had a lot of information included on the profile that anyone can see without being her friend. What struck me was the use of profanity; it wasn’t particularly offensive, just unnecessary. So yes, I do think students should be taught the implications of what they share on the Internet and how that may impact them in their future. That they should carefully consider what they post in open forums as opposed to closed ones is a skill that can be used by everyone.