2 Openness versus privacy
It is possible to find all sorts of material freely available online. Using digital technology and media, you can learn what you want, when you want. The opportunities are immense, both to build up your own knowledge and to share what you’ve found with others.
Open collections bring together particular types of resources. For example, YouTube is a large collection of videos and Flickr contains hundreds of thousands of photographs, uploaded by many different people. Anyone can view and add material. It is also possible to interact with other users of these resources.
Free educational resources are known as open educational resources or OERs. These are often provided by reputable institutions, like universities. Examples include OpenLearn, FutureLearn and, indeed, this free course. Individuals are now able to license their own work easily and at no cost. You will be learning more about this in Week 4 of this course. Online communities of learners may form around OERs or subjects of study. These provide valuable opportunities to learn together and benefit from peer support.
There is, however, a downside. One of the things you will be realising as you explore your digital footprint is that your actions online may be visible to others in ways that you did not realise. There is a tension between learning and sharing openly online and maintaining an acceptable degree of privacy. Part of the aim of this course is to equip you with the knowledge and skills to make the choices that are right for you, whilst gaining maximum benefit from online learning and communities. Activity 3 will help you to develop your digital identity and keep control of your digital footprint.
Activity 3 Shaping your digital identity
Manuela, Michael and John have been working on improving their digital profiles. They have tried to make sure that the information they want to be public portrays them in a good light and that they protect the information they would like to restrict to more private circles.
Listen to Manuela, Michael and John and make some notes in your Digital plan on:
- ways in which you can create a positive digital footprint
- what actions you could take if you have a negative digital footprint.
Transcript: Manuela talks about improving her digital profile
I’ve started to get active on Twitter and I’ve found a few marketing experts to follow. I’ve even had a go at writing my own tweets. It’s all public, so I’m really careful about what I write. I’ve read about how Paris Brown and Justine Sacco lost their jobs because of what they’d put on Twitter.
I’ve also started a blog. It’s very simple at the moment, but I’m doing quite well. It’s all about motorsport, so I hope it’ll be popular. I’m really careful that I don’t put any personal details in there. I don’t use my full name and I keep my email address private.
I have now asked my children to tell me before they put any photographs of me on Facebook. They’ve also agreed to tell me if they see anything that anyone else has posted, if they think I don’t know about it.
Transcript: Michael talks about improving his digital profile
I feel like I’ve really achieved something. I managed to tighten up my settings on my Facebook account so now I know exactly who can see what I put up there. I never knew you could do that. Makes me feel so much better.
Oh, and I’ve joined a Facebook group. They’re all trainers, and I’ve picked up some really good information. I think it’s great because they’ve been really helpful, offering me advice. I used to think Facebook was a waste of time but that’s proved me wrong.
I’ve also signed up for another free course. It was just so easy to register. I did it with my Facebook account. Couple of clicks and I was in.
Transcript: John talks about improving his digital profile
I’ve changed the settings on my Facebook account. First, I un-friended all the people I don’t really know or keep in contact with. Then I deleted all those old posts and photos I don’t want people to see. I had to do that on Instagram as well. Then I made my Facebook private so only my friends and family can see what I write, unless I choose to let the public see it. I’m going to set up a separate account for my cooking stuff because I do want the public to see that.
I’ve been working really hard on my LinkedIn profile. It’s really important to get on in my career. I found a couple of accounts I set up a long time ago when the careers advisor told me to do it, but I never use those. Now, I keep my location settings turned off when I’m on social media. The world doesn’t need to know where I am all the time.
Look at the feedback when you are ready.
You may have come up with some or all of the following:
- build up a profile on LinkedIn
- connect with others in your field of interest through Twitter
- set up a blog
- connect with others through open online study
- check privacy settings on social media sites
- delete old accounts and old social media posts / photographs that don’t show you in the best light
- switch off location/GPS settings on your mobile phone
- ask other people to remove (or not post) photos of you that you don’t wish to be shared
- do not publish your personal and contact details on social media sites or blogs.
It’s possible you have thought of other things too, for example, remember that Google will remove your information if you request it under the ‘right to be forgotten’.
You will have the opportunity to put what you have learned into practice in the next activity. In the meantime, add anything you want to follow up to your Digital plan.