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It is estimated that each one of us has 45GB of online footprint, (link here), it is not stated how this figure is arrived at but a quick calculation of the total digital universe 281 x 10^18 divided by the 7 billion people on the planet yields a number pretty close to this. It would seem most reasonable to expect this vast source of free and easy information to be fair game for potential employers and other parties to explore, in fact 92% of companies do! (click here)
Your digital shadow is probably bigger than you think! Organizations have a responsibility to privacy and data leaks, but much of this footprint is uploaded by the individuals and friends. The obvious social networking sites like facebook and twitter but also more professional based sites like linkedin. This footprint can be dangerous if you are careless/stupid as in the case this week of a young (reportedly drunk) UK man who tweeted a racist comment about a football player who collapsed from a heart attack on the pitch and got himself 60 days in jail.
I decided to search my name to see if Neil Lewin (aka me) googled well. I found the expected links to facebook, myspace, linkedin, twitter etc but also sitting there proudly in 7th spot was this coetail blog. So any potential employer could be reading this. If this happens to be the case I would just like to point out that as well as producing this fantastic blog I am indeed a terrific chap and a wonderful teacher. In conclusion, it did make me think how important a positive web portfolio could be (I include this blog as one part of that) and also how damaging unsuitable photos and comments could be.
I had a read around some other Neil Lewins, one has his own webpage, and it made me think that I have missed that Neil Lewin’s webpage boat as it has already been taken, pretty much like I gobbled up the premium e mail address at hotmail 15 years ago.
Our students need to be made aware of the dangers of sharing information carelessly, about themselves and others. There is a need for a responsible internet safety program and advice on how to build a positive digital profile. Equally important is how to deal with issues that compromise that. As and when these issues arise in my class I will deal with them as best I can but I am sure a well planned approach from an IT department would be best the best way to do this and also build in techniques to make it happen.