We live in an ever-increasingly digital world, and what our digital footprint shows about us can affect our relations with students, coworkers, and our future job prospects. It is important to know how to manage our reputation and to put forth a professional image. Here are some steps I will soon be taking to professionalize my online image:
1. Take inventory. This involves searching for yourself on several search engines, looking at 3-5 pages of search results and classifying each page as positive or negative (McGinnis, 2012). This should be done when you are signed OUT of the search engine to give you the best idea of what other people see about you.
2. Set up Google alerts. Lowenthal and Dunlop (2012) recommend optimizing search engines to control your online presence by setting up Google alerts to let you know whenever new content is posted about you. To maximize the effectiveness of these alerts, you should include all variations of your name that may be used.
3. Utilize Twitter Effectively. Make sure your Twitter account is your name or initials, not a nickname. Be sure your profile is brief and high-level. Follow people and subjects relevant to education and participate in the discussion (Taub, 2012).
4. Create (or get) a professional website. This creates a centralized location for all of your professional papers, lessons, etc. regardless of where you are employed. This will drive people to your site, allow you to track visitors, and allow you to blog in a centralized location (Taub).
5. Use a professional photo. This will create a professional atmosphere on your website and blogs (Koekemoer, 2012, slide 20).
6. Purchase your domain name (kjerstiwithers.com). This will protect your reputation by giving you control over the domain, and will give people an obvious place to look for you online (Lowenthal and Dunlop, 2012).
7. Create a brand or UVP (unique value proposition) for yourself. This will show who you are and what is important to you. It will show prospective employers, parents, and students what unique skills you bring to your classroom (Kujawaski, slide 21).
8. Maintain a blog. This should be used to let readers know what you are doing and will allow others access to your ideas (Lowenthal and Dunlop, 2012).
9. Share teaching materials online. This will show the quality of your ideas (Lowenthal and Dunlop, 2012).
10. Be good users of others’ work. Read and comment intelligently on other scholars’ works. This will show positive interactions with colleagues and promote your online presence (Lowenthal and Dunlop, 2012).
Koekemoer, A. (2012, Jul 2012). Your digital footprint in a social media world: Protecting and building your digital resume online. Slideshare retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/AntonRSA/your-digital-footprint-in-a-social-media-world?ref=http://edtech.mrooms.org/mod/page/view.php?id=92503.
Kujawaski, M. Tools and tips for managing your personal digital footprint. Slideshare retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/mikekujawski/tools-and-tips-for-managing-your-personal-digital-footprint?ref=http://edtech.mrooms.org/mod/page/view.php?id=92503.
Lowenthal, P. And Dunlop, J. (2012, Jun 5). Intentional web presence: 10 SEO strategies every academic needs to know. EducauseReview. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2012/6/intentional-web-presence-10-seo-strategies-every-academic-needs-to-know.
McGinnis, Sean. (2012, Aug 23). Online Reputation Management: A How-to Guide. Spinsucks. Retrieved from http://spinsucks.com/communication/online-reputation-management-a-how-to-guide/.
Taub, A. (2012, Jun 7). 5 key things needed to improve your digital identity. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/alextaub/2012/06/07/5-key-things-needed-to-improve-your-digital-identity/#791048c214ef.