This week you have had a chance to use your skills to help Manuela, John and Michael to:
- develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a digital world
- apply their learning to different areas of their lives – work, study and everyday life
- improve their confidence when engaging with an online environment.
This will hopefully have helped to remind you of the things you’ve learned over the last six weeks.
Activity 5 Your digital skills: how confident are you now?
Think about your level of confidence at the beginning of the course. Has your mindset changed since then through studying this course? Take a look at these questions about your digital footprint to gauge your online presence, and how you feel about it.
There are three questions, along with a list of possible responses – see which apply to you and which don't. There are some response boxes where you can add your own particular footprint details before revealing some discussion points.
Where do you make your footprint?
- I surf the web
- I use email
- I have a Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn account
- I use my phone to update my social networking accounts
- I own and maintain a website about me
If any of these apply to you, you definitely have a digital footprint! Almost everyone visits websites and although it may not seem like you're leaving a footprint when you visit a site, corporations may be tracking your visit for marketing purposes.
Social networking sites are also an important part of your digital life. Facebook tends to be for social interaction, LinkedIn is related to employment and people use Twitter for both business and social purposes.
Lastly, a website all about you is a significant project that takes time and effort. But if you do it well, it can become a personal portfolio to help market you to future employers!
Who else is shaping your footprint?
- My friends mention me on Facebook, and/or we use services like Foursquare
- My friends take photos at social events and post them online
- I know all my social networking friends in real life
- My friends sometimes log into each other’s accounts and post fake status updates as a joke
By now, you have probably realised that your digital footprint can be influenced by others. Posting online about the fun you're having in real life is one of the best parts of social networking. Sometimes you might know when someone is posting something about you, but sometimes you may not. If you do not know all your social networking friends in real life, you should carefully consider how much information you share with those people.
It’s also important to choose passwords your friends can’t guess, and keep your passwords private. Now that you know how important and permanent a digital footprint can be, treat your friends' digital footprints with respect. The internet is an open stage for the world, not a place to play even a friendly prank.
Are you in control of your footprint?
- I was shopping online, and soon afterwards, realised that the web ads were targeting the choices I had made.
- I've used Google or other search engines to see what information is out there about me.
- My social networking profile picture is a photo of me.
- My social networking profile is a photo I would be willing to show my grandmother.
- I include personal information, such as my birthday or address, in my social networking profile.
- I've tagged or untagged a photo of myself because I liked or didn't like what it said about me.
- I had a fight with a friend, or broke up with my boyfriend/girlfriend online.
- I've deleted a social networking account because I wanted to get rid of what I said or what was said about me.
Now that you know all the ways that you and others are shaping your digital footprint, it's important to be vigilant about keeping your footprint in shape. Have you ever realised how closely marketers are watching you online? Does it bother you and would it affect the kinds of things you might shop for online?
Searching for yourself on a search engine is a quick way to see what information is out there about you. You may find a number of people who have the same name as you – and some of them might have a digital footprint you wouldn't want for yourself. How will you make yourself stand out in the crowd of people who may seem to be you?
Using an appropriate photo of yourself in your social networking profiles is an important start. Think carefully about posting your contact information or birthday. As fun as it is to get birthday messages, you may also get targeted by marketers or even identity thieves.
We all have good days and bad days, but remember that what goes on the Internet is public and long-lasting. Do you want everyone, including your future employers, to see your personal business, including fights and breakups?
And if there are some parts of your digital footprint that you are not proud of, don't be afraid to untag a photo, ask a friend to take something of yours down or even delete an account. These ‘fixes’ are not absolute, but they can help to keep your private business private.
Your responses throughout this activity will be personal and specific to you. The important thing is to know how to identify areas where you have improved.
Reflecting on your learning at different stages can also help you to see how far your knowledge and skills are developing. This goes a long way towards improving your confidence.