Have you ever wondered what comes up when you search your name on Google? What can people find out about you? Who are you online? This is called your digital identity. You might think that you don’t have a digital identity, but it is the 21st century…you do! Your digital identity could be something as simple as your facebook or Twitter account or it could be as broad as a blog you created that you either forgot about or still use to this day. It could even be a combination of these things. The question really is whether or not you are aware of your digital identity. Are you being portrayed online how you want to?
This week, I decided to take a closer look at my digital identity. As a future teacher, it is important for me to have a digital identity that reflects who I am, my values, and my beliefs; a digital identity that I would be proud to show future employers. Digital identity is not something that is new to me. I have been conscious of it throughout university, thanks to one of my professors, Katia Hildebrandt. It is also something that I focused on teaching to my students during my internship. Like I said, EVERYONE has a digital identity…even our students. It is important that they understand and recognize that whatever they post online will be a part of their identity for the rest of their lives. I referred to the term “digital footprint” to my students whenever I saw a “teachable” moment in a lesson. For example, I during an ELA unit focused on social justice, the students were learning about systemic racism. One of the articles I used for this assignment was called His Name is Cayden. A statement that soon became an viral hashtag across Twitter. I used this article to teach about the digital footprint that Roth (the man who posted the photo on his facebook) has left for himself. This will be something that he will be associated with for the rest of his life. It is essential that students are aware of the implications of their posts and that they, too, create a digital footprint that they would be proud to show others, that represents who they are, and that is aligned with their morals. This article mirrors exactly what I am trying to say and I especially like the four tips on how to establish your digital identity.
Below is a video of what happened when I took a closer look at my digital identity. In other words, what happens when I type my name into Google?
I was not too surprised about what I found when I typed my name into Google. The first thing I noticed was the images that appeared. Some were quickly recognizable (profile pictures from Summer Sports School and Twitter). Other images, not associated to me, were a little more shocking. No, I do not own my own underwear line, but apparently there is another Ryan McKillop who owns his own underwear line.
Here is what my digital identity consists of:
· My Profile at Summer Sports School: includes a brief biography and a few sample lesson plans.
· My LinkedIn Account: a form of online resume that indicates my past experiences, my skills and abilities, and my connections to other professionals
· Educational Twitter Account (@ryan_education): a combination of tweets that outline the work I completed in internship, my educational philosophy and beliefs, and other educational resources.
· Personal Twitter Account: this account is private, not because I post inappropriate material, but because I have no control over what friends will post.
· Facebook Account: although it did not appear on my first search, the picture below shows what users (who are not friends with me) can see if they find me on Facebook.
· My Blog (firstname.lastname@example.org): the space I use the most for my online identity; my blog consists of my philosophy, work I did in pre-internship and internship, work I have done in university classes, and is an overall reflection of who I am as an educator.
What I discovered about my online identity is that it is interconnected. In other words, what I post on Twitter is relatable to what I post on my blog. I think it is important that my online spaces display the same representation of who I am.