Monday, October 22, 2012

Manage Your Digital Footprint (Repost)

It's always worth repeating, so here's a repost from information I posted to our library blog today. We gave a presentation to our grade 11's on digital footprints, and I had the "management" section.  The post was just a reminder of the links and why it's important to use them!

It’s NEVER too early to start managing your digital footprint.  Colleges and future employers will certainly Google your name to see what you’ve been up to.  You want them to find a productive, creative online life–not the embarrassing photo from that last party you went to!
Of course, the first step towards a positive footprint is doing your best to control what goes online in the first place.  Do you really need to post that party photo?  Or make that stupid comment on Facebook?   And, really, who needs 593 friends on Facebook?  The more you control who you friend, the more you control what’s out there.
While good common sense is always your best tool, there are some other tools you should be aware of, too.

Google Alerts:  Search your name and have the results reported to your email anytime a new reference to your name shows up online. (click on photos to enlarge them.)

SocioClean checks your online accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and gives you a “grade” based on the appropriateness of  your wall posts, images, groups, etc.  It looks for inappropriate comments and flags them for you. It also looks at your friends comments:  You are who you hang out with!  You can focus in on wall posts, photos, groups, and see exactly what is being flagged and why. While you can’t change anything, it does help raise your awareness of problem areas, so you can start “cleaning up” your act!  It’s in beta, so once you sign up, you’ll have to wait a day or two for the invitation.

Remember, if  friends repeatedly post offensive comments on their status updates that show up on your wall, you don’t have to unfriend them.  Just choose “Hide.”  They won’t show up on your wall, but you can still go to your friends’ wall to keep in touch.  And they’ll never know!

Vizibility goes a step further.  It does a Google search of your name, based on a variety of terms you choose,  returns the results and allows you to delete unwanted items and highlight others.  Once you’ve created the online profile you want, it creates a personal “Search Me” link you can add to your college applications or job resumes.  While this doesn’t remove anything you don’t like from Google, it does help to ensure that people see the good stuff first.

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