Learning about my digital footprint this week was a very eye-opening experience. The internet is a very public place and because of this, most everything we do online can be viewed by anyone. With the internet being so public, it is important for users to be aware that what they say, write, post, or share is a reflection on them. Looking at my digital footprint, I saw what I expected: websites, blogs, social media sites that I subscribe, employment info, and professional organizations with whom I have contributed. In my opinion, my digital footprint is fairly straightforward – nothing really negative or unprofessional. Years ago, I came to the realization that the internet is not a private place and because of continued technological advances, I assumed my privacy would only diminish more with the internet becoming more open and collaborative. For me, I choose to vigilant when online and assume that everything I do can be viewed by anyone. If I want private, I usually stick to the old-fashioned face to face way of communicating.
As I read more into digital footprints and reflected on mine specifically, I thought why not utilize the public internet and my digital footprint for the common good? Instead of making poor decisions with internet use, some of which may come back to haunt me, use myself and the power of the internet to create a digital footprint that will create a better place for others? Instead of leaving behind a useless or forgetful footprint, I plan on leaving a footprint that will help others to be better educators, technologists, music teachers, and life-long learners. I already took the first step by purchasing my domain name, which I plan on using to create a blog about integrating technology in the elementary classroom. Through my website, blogs, and social media interactions, my contributions will be well thought-out, professional, and in-good taste, especially when it comes to my personal posts on social sites. I am reminded of an excellent point in the assigned reading this week that really hit home for me. The point that the blogger made was how personal and private internet use don’t exist separately anymore. Myself like so many others, have tried for years to keep private and personal internet use separate. With the explosion of Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, sharing, collaboration, and social media the definitive line separating private from personal has dissolved and now has merged. Because of this, being vigilant and proactive with keeping your digital footprint safe is more important than ever.