Like Hansel and Gretel, we all leave breadcrumbs behind us. For some of us, those breadcrumbs lead others through a journey of professional and personal success. For others, the path might lead to something almost as bad as a watch’s lair. Unlike in the fable, there are no birds to eat our breadcrumbs. The digital footprint we leave behind us aren’t going away. It is there to be viewed by our family, friends, bosses, co-workers, potential partners, religious community members, and anyone that is jut curious. We can leave behind something memorable and positive or we can sully our name while potentially hurting our “real” life prospects.
I am quite thankful that the internet and social media did not take hold until I was fully past my early 20s. I can’t even imagine the dumb and dangerous things I would have documented. Also, I do feel a sense of regret for the youth today. They (very much by their own doing, but isn’t that how all tragedies play out?) live in a world where mistakes are posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In an instant, “everyone” can see it.
I was fortunate to come of age when I did. AOL Instant Messenger was the only real social media that I used in high school and most of college. When I was 21 or 22, I decided to try Facebook. I made an account and within 5 minutes, I had a friend request from a classmate that I spent every Tuesday and Thursday avoiding. I deleted the request and never signed on to Facebook again…well until I began my EdTEch program at Boise State. As for Twitter and Instagram, I am a big fan. I have used Twitter daily for 4 years and Instagram regularly for 2 years. However, I never put my real name or any images of myself on either account. Being a teacher, I wanted to keep separation from my students and administrators. So, when I search for my digital footprint, there isn’t much, but it is all positive and professional. Pretty much everything is something I started for the EdTech program.
Here is a copy of my plan to establish and keep a positive digital footprint: