This week provided me with the opportunity to explore the digital identity that I am momentarily expressing to the world by scanning my various social media accounts to see what is available to the public eye. Growing up in a time where social media’s popularity is continually rising, I am constantly warned that what I put on the internet will be out there forever and that I need to think before I make any rash posts or comments. Although I am fairly confident that I have maintained a professional identity of myself online, I am excited for the opportunity to do a deep investigation and ensure that I am conveying myself in a respectful manner that is true to myself and how I would like others to see me. It is becoming increasingly common for employers to search for their potential employees online before offering them the job and there has been a discussion about e-portfolios replacing the purpose of paper resumes thus I appreciate the opportunity to build an online educator identity as I work towards my education degree.
Let the investigation begin:
I began my investigation by revisiting a blog post made by one of my EDTC 300 classmates, Shaleen Hengen, when she was tasked with cyber-sleuthing me. I recalled that she was able to find my facebook account quite simply and a few newspaper articles that my name appeared in once she added my home town, Prince Albert, behind my name but that was about it. Shaleen had noted that my name appeared to be very popular which made it difficult to find ‘Kendall Schneider’ accounts that actually belonged to me. Due to the encouragement to create an e-portfolio and build a Personal Learning Network (PLN) from the University of Regina’s Faculty of Education, I have actively been working to develop an online presence and am excited to see if I have become more discoverable since my first semester.
After refreshing myself with Shaleen’s work, it was time for me to cyber-sleuth myself. The first thing that caught my eye when typing in ‘Kendall Schneider’ into the google search bar is that one of my graduation photos immediately pops up. I had photos professionally taken by Genelle Giblett who had my permission to publically share the photos that she took so I was not surprised to see one pop up. I also frequently use the photo on my social media accounts as a profile picture which could be another reason that Google associated it with my name.
None of the Facebook profiles that were listed in the photographed sites matched mine thus, I am not sure how Shaleen found my account so efficiently (I give her props) but it could have to do with the fact that we are friends on Facebook. Despite not being able to find my profile through a basic search I still felt it was necessary to examine my account. Facebook was the first social media site that I became active on and scrolling through my posts it is obvious that I am continually using the platform less and less. My settings on Facebook were set to be quite private when I first began using the platform and they continue to remain that way because I find comfort in knowing that I have some control over who can explore my profile. I don’t believe that I have anything to hide on my facebook account but I do think that having private settings is a good precautionary measure in order to prevent hackers. Besides for posting some pictures that document events in my life and the odd humorous post, sport update, or news story that I share, I use Facebook to keep in touch with family (I love being able to watch my younger cousins grow despite them being too far away for me to visit often) and communicate with people I have met throughout my travels (I continue to have several conversations with friends from England who I met in the summer of 2014). I also enjoy being able to follow paNow which allows me to stay up to date with news from Prince Albert while living in Regina. My facebook account demonstrates myself very personally as I choose to use other platforms to focus on my professional identity.
Focusing my attention next to my blog, I am excited to say that, when I google my name the link to my homepage, does appear which has been a goal of mine since I started developing it. My blog documents my professional learning and development as I work towards my education degree and it is an online presence of myself that I am proud of and would like people to stumble upon as I continue to ensure that it represents myself, Kendall Schneider, as an educator. My blog is used strictly on a professional basis, however, reading through my posts will allow my readers to learn about me personally as well because I am challenged to be open and share vulnerable opinions through my learning journey in the education program. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about blogging that the Faculty of Education has provided me with and I am excited to continue to develop my online resume.
Prior to being apart of EDTC 300, I never had any reason to have my own YouTube channel but in order to share my weekly progress for my learning project, I learned that by posting videos on to Youtube they can easily be shared within my blog posts. I am still learning how to use many functions of YouTube but I was able to develop personal playlists to sort my videos based on the course that they applied to. My videos are all posted as ‘unlisted’ meaning that in order to view them, the link is required, however, all of my videos have been linked to my blog so essentially, they are available to the public. I hope to learn more about utilizing YouTube for educational purposes so that I can build my account to be a beneficial tool to have in my classroom and share with my students as a good example if they are interested in creating their own YouTube channels. My classmate, Sydney, found an excellent article when she was examining her YouTube account for her post this week that discusses many beneficial purposes of YouTube in the classroom and I hope to portray some of these ideas in my future.
Twitter was a foreign concept to me when I began my journey to become an educator at the University of Regina, but EDTC 300 quickly opened my eyes to how easily the platform allows me to interact with fellow educators. I have had my profile for just over a year but it is currently the platform where I am most active as I am working towards strengthening my PLN. My twitter profile summarizes who I am as an educator as it allows me to share resources related to my interests including ed-tech, teaching math, and treaty education. With the goal of building connections with educators, I look forward to engaging in Twitter Chats such as the ones found on this list. participating in the chats will also allow me to think critically about controversial education topics and make myself known to other educators which I think will be valuable to myself in the future.
I have a personal Instagram account which I choose to have privacy settings turned on so that I have to approve people’s requests to follow me before they can see my posts. Similarly to Facebook, I am not trying to hide anything by keeping my setting private but I find comfort in having some control over who can be scrolling through my photos. I also experienced people I did not know commenting on my posts and requesting to message me privately so by making my account private I was able to control this and avoid inappropriate comments becoming associated with my posts. My posts include pictures of myself with my family (of course my dog is included in this) or my friends, and many of them document exciting moments in my life such as high school graduation and my trips to England and Greece. Instagram was my preferred platform to interact with my peers in high school but as an educator, I can see myself decreasing my activity on Instagram and focusing more on my twitter profile in the future.
Analyzing my findings:
Exploring my identity on social media platforms was an engaging assignment that allowed me to get a sense of what information about me is available to the public eye. I have had many discussions with my educator peers regarding how it is difficult for teachers to separate their private life from their professional life as it is crucial that we are consistently acting as positive role models for our students and professional figures that the public trusts to be employed in their school divisions. Because my Facebook and Instagram accounts are fairly private, I think it is important that I am continually being active on Twitter account and blog page to ensure that I am making myself discoverable online in a professional manner. I will continue to remember the lessons I learned when I first became active on social media accounts including the idea that once something is put on the internet it is there forever to ensure that my posts are justifiable. Unfortunately, I can not control how others perceive me nor the opinions of others thus it is also important for me to remember that even if my intentions for making a post or positive and true to myself, they may be perceived more negatively by others. While professionalism is vital, I also think it is important for people to see me for me and so I would like to work on integrating more personal thoughts into my digital identity.
The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation has compiled a list of their top ten tips for teachers regarding how to be professional in the digital world and reviewing them has allowed me to believe that I have been appropriately conducting myself online.
In conclusion, I have a few questions regarding some controversial ideas that were brought up in class discussion. Lauren brought up the idea of possibly changing the names on our personal social media accounts to not include our last names and this is something that I have continually debated and that I am still unsure of. I think it is important for employers to be able to find me if they wish but I also don’t think it is appropriate for my students to be sending me Facebook friend requests. Secondly, there are a few photos of me holding alcoholic beverages on my private accounts and I am interested in learning other educators’ perspectives on whether they feel this is acceptable or not. I do believe that I am entitled to have a personal life and experience my teenage years, however, as an educator, I want to prioritize being a positive role model for my students. Let me know your thoughts!