Footprints – Tattoos – CVs

Digital Tattoo
As an international educator is is key to have a professional brand.  I went to a workshop last year about branding yourself and getting your educational philosophy out there to be seen by future employers and of course your peers.  This started many years ago with chat rooms.  I remember that the first place i would visit to find out about a school, the school culture and the staff was the TES international teaching forum.  When I got my first job as a tech coordinator i was asked to search through that forum and try to identify whether or not any future employees of the school had been posting there and what kind of thing they were saying about their current or past schools.  I am certain that this was the beginning of a professional digital footprint.  Thinking back with was the early 2000’s – I guess we could say that my employer was ahead of his time and a practice that is highlighted in the Mashable Infographic on ‘How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates’.
infographic on recuiters and social mediaI
As things moved on I was asked to search through Facebook to deem whether or not future employees would fit into a Muslim faith environment – it was at this point I was horrified as some of the images teachers, as professionals, were sending out to the world.  Not as time goes by and those posts grow old with some digging I am sure that something slightly unprofessional may be found.  I cast my mind back to when Scotland elected it’s youngest MSP, Mhairi Black.  There was a wave of completely inappropriate tweets that were aired!  I am sure at this point Black wishes that indeed the internet did have the delete button that Schmidt, CEO of Google talks about in ‘How You’re Unknowingly Embarrassing Yourself Online (and How to Stop)‘.Leading me on to a move from the digital footprint we leave to a modern day digital tattoo, which is difficult and extremely painful to remove!  It is interesting that recruiters are using Facebook and twitter far more in the screening process than LinkedIn, interesting but not unsurprising! We all know that LinkedIn is a professional platform, and not somewhere I will post my holiday snaps or Saturday nights out!  The stats provided by Mashable need us to sit up and think about our online presence! 47% of employers don’t even wait until they have met a candidate to look at their social media presence, 69% have rejected candidates based on their social media networking sites! This is a serious business… Social media has become our online footprint, our on line tattoo, but more importantly our online CV.  There is some excellent advice for parents on digital tattoo written by ParentInfo. They offer a list of five thinks to think about before you post – all of which work just as well for adults, as well as children:
  1. What do I look like?
  2. Is this ‘ink’ permanent?
  3. Am I giving away too much?
  4. Would I want this shared about me?
  5. Does it pass the billboard test?
 Perhaps the last is the most powerful:
“Would you be happy to see it on a billboard where the rest of your school, your parents, your grandparents and neighbours could see it? If not, do you really want to share it?”  Just replace those last few people with your school community!
Employers are looking for a social media presence that demonstrates a good fit, creativity, ‘solid communication skills’, supports a candidates professional qualifications… this is a CV.  These are all the things that you try to demonstrate through the actions, roles and responsibilities that you take on in your job.  Addressing your social media pretense in this way doesn’t just tell your future employer that you are the right professional for their organization, it demonstrates it through your actions online.
Before we can influence our students we really need to give ourselves a good digital check up, are we practicing what we preach? Do we really understand the audiences we are posting to? In a Unit on social media safety with my grade 7 class they researched many many social media fails.  I was astounded when they began to do the right up for their summative task, when I asked them to explain their target audience many cited the 30-40 age range! I explored this further and in the students opinion and from the research they had done online they felt that this was the age group who knew the least about social media.  Lisa Nielsen echoes this in her article “Teaching Kids to Manage their Digital Footprint’, “Teaching kids to manage their Digital Footprint really starts with the adults. Teachers can’t teach this effectively if they, themselves have not managed their own digital footprint”.
As requested… here is an example of the videos my class made about social media.
YouTube Preview Image
Teaching children and adults the importance of managing their digital footprint starts with being reflective….
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4 Responses to Footprints – Tattoos – CVs

  1. Abbi Sandweiss says:

    Hello Sylvia! I think this is my first post on your blog. I was really interested by your title and as I read on further I really began to make the connection between “digital footprint” and “digital tattoo.” Honestly, I hadn’t ever thought of it as a digital tattoo, but that really does make a better picture for me in knowing that what you post online is there for good – it’s not easy to remove. I think that this would really help my students to understand the importance of why we teach digital citizenship. Many of them have a really difficult time making the connection that when you post something online, it is there for good and can be really hard to “delete.” I really liked your idea of having a class do a unit on “Social Media Fails.” I always laugh at all of the post on the “Pinterest Fails” and would be interested to see the work that your class came up with, if you don’t mind sharing it.

    I am knew to the blogging experience, but am definitely realizing that I need to keep it professional. I wonder do my coworkers do the same? How can I help them to realize the importance of digital tattoos? This will be something I continue to teach and help others (and myself) learn throughout the years. Keep sharing your great ideas – I would love to use some of them! Thank you 🙂

  2. Ryan Harwood says:

    These are great points to think about. For many of us, it isn’t only about teaching our students, but being and example and even teaching our peers about a digital footprint. Your idea of a tattoo reminded me about the WayBack Machine. It is pretty fascinating and definitely drives home your point. Over the last 20 years, it has saved over “304 billion web pages”. Pretty amazing.

  3. Andy Richardson says:

    Thanks for posting the link to ParentInfo. These are great steps to be thinking about. I will use them with students. (And I might suggest a few adults I know use them too!) I want to be able to say “Sweet Tat” to everyone I know because their digital footprint is so cool. There are not all that many people, especially in education with great digital tattoos. As teachers we do need to brand ourselves but also try to carefully control our brand (image) There is no laser removal for the internet yet 🙂

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