Are you on LinkedIN?

Recently I read on the oz-teachers mailing list a warning for teachers about using social networking sites unprofessionally. This UK article, suggests that teachers should be cautious of what they post online and check what information is available about them. Teachers are warned that schools are scouring social networking sites and googling potential candidates for school positions.

This warning is not of concern to me. I am very wary about thinking before posting. I use Facebook in a limited way, while using Twitter for entirely professional reasons.

Unfortunately, I do know a number of teachers who need to take heed of the warning, who use social networking in a less than professional way. As a sidenote, this recent post on the Edublogger blog is a great resource for teachers wanting to use Facebook safely.

Roland Gesthuizen responded to the warning on the oz-teachers mailing list by pointing to an article in the New York Times. It concurs with the UK article that professionals do need to be careful of their online presence but offered a handy piece of advice.  As Roland puts it:

If you create for yourself a LinkedIN account and keep it purely professional, sharing only what public information is already out there about you as this gets pushed up to the top of any search request. Much better to do this than trying to hide under a rock after burying all your Facebook and Twitter references.

The New York times article also points out that:

Adding such entries can also help people who have little or no presence online, as that can be viewed with suspicion these days.

After reading this advice, I set up my LinkedIN account. This diagram summarises what LinkedIN is all about (click on the image to enlarge it).

LinkedIN

While I am not sure how much I will get out of using LinkedIN (I’m still figuring it all out), I know it can’t hurt to strengthen my digital footprint. The fact that many inspiring educators are also on LinkedIN makes me think that it is a good idea to be involved!

If you’re on LinkedIN already, add me to your network. This is the link to my profile.

What are your tips for maintaining a positive digital footprint?

Are you on LinkedIN? How do you use it? Share your tips!

14 Comment

  1. Dear Kathleen,
    I think you’re right on about this. I always think about it this way…if I wouldn’t want it printed on the front page of a newspaper I don’t put it on Twitter or Facebook or in an email or in LinkedIn. None of those places give me absolute control over what will happen to my words.
    We must think about these things and it is shaping how we interact with the world. Wonder what we must “unlearn”?
    Thanks again for this thoughtful insight!

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Marsha,

      Thanks for your comment. Sadly, I think many people out there don’t realise the importance of this message. We make sure our grade twos know that what you put on the internet is final.

      You’re right about “unlearning” too!

      Kathleen

  2. Hi Kathleen,

    I like your point while some of us are very aware of our digital footprint, there are some who are not.

    I personally use Facebook to connect with my friends and typically post about something my child said/did, or something about my family. I am very aware of what I post, but sometimes I see others who do not have that awareness.

    What do you think is the best way to help raise the awareness for those who haven’t heard/ignored – while not creating a panic to those who are using social media appropriately?

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Tracy,

      You’re so right about Facebook, I can’t believe how many teachers I have seen using it as an avenue to complain about their job or their students! How silly are some people?

      That is a good question about raising awareness. I find I am often preaching to the converted on this blog so how do we get the message out to other people? I try to do this by making sure my grade two students are aware of the permanence of the internet and digital footprints, however they are just a tiny drop in the ocean. Do you have any other ideas?

      Kathleen

      1. Hi Kathleen,

        It’s so true that children can make such an impact, especially on their parents… and there are opportunities for parents to learn from their children. I’ve also used students as classroom “tutors” to train students and teachers, and that has been effective.

        But I find that when I’m in a whole staff or district Professional Development, there are both ends of the spectrum, with some passionate about their opinions and some who haven’t decided on their beliefs but just do as they’ve always done/seen. The key is to acknowledge them where they are at and to point out that there aren’t cookie cutter answers. Then I try to take them to great sources that address the issue — both sides. Just like I would in my own classroom, I give time to explore those sources and then bring us back to a discussion. At the end of the PD, I usually conclude with we’re not done but just beginning, and our ideas or how we feel about the topic may change as we learn more about it… And I come back to that topic time and time again, but from different angles with new spins so it’s a continuation of learning.

        I truly believe as they process the topic, the collective understanding grows and nourishes.

        That’s the best I’ve got. But, I wish I had more. I haven’t done PD on this exact question of developing understanding of ones digital footprint; but I see it not too far in the future.

        Thanks for helping me think through this. I keep trying to find other approaches for addressing this because it’s so important to live the example of positive digital footprints.

        Kind regards,
        Tracy

        1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

          @ Tracy,

          What a thoughtful comment. Thank you for taking the time to reflect on this issue.

          I love your idea of tutors working more than one way. I really love your thoughts about PD. I agree, there is no cookie cutter answer or black and white response to most things. It is so important to spread the word about creating positive digital footprints and I hope we can both do this!

          Kathleen

  3. Ed says: Reply

    You have a great digital footprint already. A quick search by a potential employer turns up your fabulous blog and the job is yours. For educational dialogue, from what I have seen, nothing beats Twitter. So is it necessary to keep adding more social media?

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Edna,

      Thanks for the comment and your ongoing support! Well I hope anywhere I would be applying for a job at would Google my name. If they didn’t think to do that, maybe I wouldn’t want to work there! 😆

      Good question about adding more social media. From what I have seen, I don’t think I will actually be using LinkedIN (I’ll stick to Twitter) but I just set it up “cos everyone else did” and it strengthens my digital footprint further.

      If anyone has actually seen a good use for LinkedIN I would love to hear from them!

      Kath

      1. Annie Blair says: Reply

        Hi Kath,
        have really enjoyed following the comments and agree wholeheartedly that we need to be very aware of our digital footprint as educators. We also need to educate our students and own children, every step of the way (even some teenagers who think they already know it all – my son being one of them!) With my PLN, I have learned so much from education blogs, wikis, Diigo groups and twitter (edchat, edtech etc). But have so far been disappointed with LInkedIn. Joined several groups that sounded great, but was amazed at the blatent ‘show ponying’, self promotion and argumentative style of many in the training-education group (ie, I’m right, you are wrong). They’d answer others using words like ‘false.’ and ‘your post was so far off the mark /useless /’ and ‘you can’t be serious/right’. SOoooo frustrating and not at all constructive or collaborative in the sense that other avenues are. Tried diff groups for 6 months but have now left it. Now follow wide range of inspirational educators in Twitter, blogs and wikis, use RSS feeds etc. Such a different story!

        1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

          @ Annie,

          Wow, thank you so much for your insights here. How unfortunate! I only really set up my LinkedIn account to strengthen my digital footprint and haven’t delved into the group side of things. After your experience, I think don’t think I’ll worry about it!

          I agree about the friendliness of the Twitter/blog PLN. It is so obvious that everyone is just connecting to benefit their kids and their own professional growth. The extremes members of my PLN go to to help others is really inspiring!

          Thanks again for sharing your perspectives here.

          Kathleen

  4. I have a slightly different problem, a very common name. On the downside there’s a person with my name seen holding drinks at A list parties but at the same time I know of at least two different principals who share my name as well!

    The other important thing is to manage your privacy settings quite vigorously. I’m wondering what I am going to do with my personal blog when I go out into the real world. Might have to be put into to hibernation/lockdown.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Teacher Trainee,

      Oh dear, that isn’t good being mixed up with other people! I guess you just have to keep working on your digital footprint so your results appear before all theirs!

      Do you mean you want to put your teacher blog into hibernation? I wouldn’t do that – I think you’re doing a terrific job and if I was hiring teachers I would love to find someone who blogs! Unless you mean you also have a personal blog that you don’t want people in your profession to see! 🙂

      Kathleen

  5. David Clark says: Reply

    Hi Teacher trainee
    I can relate to the common name problem!
    You may never be able to get to the top of a list in a Google search, but what you can do is hand my prospective employer the blogs, wikis, online projects etc you are a part of. As a principal, I would definitely google your name, would definitely check social networking sites such as facebook and twitter, and would definitely look into any links supplied to me by an applicant.
    Always Give the employer (prospective) what you want to showcase. Good luck

    1. Dear David,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I’ll probably include my website when I put my CV together.

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