Digital-Age Citizenship and Responsibility: Examining My Social Media Presence

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One of the goals for my Tech and Innovation Class was to learn digital-age citizenship and responsibility. I decided to meet this goal by thinking more in depth about my social media presence. I’ve worked or volunteered with children and family for most of my life, so I’ve always tried to be intentional about what I post online. As I now pursue a career in teaching, I want to make conscious decisions about how much of my personal life I want to share. I also want to consider the privacy of my friends and family.

I’ve outlined the decision I made for each social media platform I use below.

Instagram

Since I often share photos of loved ones and family members on Instagram, I decided it would be a good idea to privatize it. I was surprised that I actually encountered problems trying to adjust my privacy setting on my laptop. In the end, I wound up following this guide for changing your account privacy settings on your phone.

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Facebook

Since I also tend to share personal photos on Facebook, I decided to increase the privacy settings on my account. I also removed the option for my name to come up on search engines outside of Facebook, since I would rather future employers encounter my professional web presence before they came across my personal web presence.

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As you can see in the screenshots below, the first thing that comes up when you search my name is my Facebook Page, and my Instagram account isn’t far below. I would rather potential students and employers encounter my work with UVic’s Maker Lab and the articles I published in UVic’s newspaper (The Martlet) than start flipping through my personal photos.

*Several of the search results for my name also bring up another Katherine Goertz (LinkedIn, SPAN, MinnPost)

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I’ve also been attempting to remove individuals who I no longer remember/know from my list of friends. This has been a bit of a difficult task because 1) I used to be a camp counsellor and accepted most of the friend requests of former campers. 2) I used to be a regular contributor on a pop culture blog and used Facebook to make connections/advertise my blog posts. This particular part of my project will have to be ongoing.

Twitter

I’ve only rarely used Twitter in the past. My main use for it was to tweet out funny quotes from/my thoughts on a current TV show or Movie I was watching. I also used it to tweet out links for the blog I used to write for. I never found Twitter very useful; not until I was in the education program, that is. Twitter is an incredible resource for educators because it connects us so easily using a variety of ed. focused hashtags.

Once I started using Twitter as an educator-in-training, I wondered if I should purge my account of my personal opinions and non-professional tweets. However, Valerie told us about a study that compared professor’s Twitter accounts that were purely professional vs. those that mixed personal and professional tweets. According to the study, profiles that mixed professional with personal were generally perceived as more reliable. As this article by Business Grow explains,

At its heart, Twitter is a business networking tool … which is what many companies and individuals don’t understand. They view the platform as just another way to broadcast company press releases. By trying to force-fit old “broadcast” media thinking into this new platform they are sub-optimizing Twitter at best and hurting their brand at worst.

Think of yourself in another networking situation … say an industry conference or a chamber of commerce meeting. Would you stand there and read press releases? No, of course not. You would seek out great people to connect with, discuss subjects that are interesting to you and them, and look for ways to work together. Twitter can work exactly the same way.

However, the expectations university students might have for their professor could be considerably different from the expectations parents might have for a teacher. The majority of my personal tweets are about a) politics or b) TV shows. Is it possible a parent could complain to administration about my taste in television or political opinions?

I still do plan to integrate some of my personal opinion with my professional tweets. However, I’m going to be thinking more in depth about what kind of personal opinions I share on twitter. I’ve already gone through my Twitter account to make sure I’ve never posted anything overtly offensive in the past, but I plan to continue checking in with parents and coworkers as I continue in the program and keep the question of “what should I post?” present in my mind.

 

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