Final Reflection

When I signed up for this course I didn’t really have pre-conceived notions in terms of how we would be using social media. As far as tools I suspected that Twitter, Facebook, Diigo and some other tools I had heard of or used briefly in past courses or own life would likely be covered. When it came to how they would be used or their potential for educating others my mind was a completely blank slate, which I think was helpful when completing our assignments. I am honestly not a person who has naturally taken to social media in its meteoric rise over the last 10 years. I have enjoyed having a personal Facebook account but even my use of that has waned significantly over the last few years.

The most beneficial assignment in this course for me ended up being the Social Media Policies because I work more at an administrative level and its content includes items that impact me personally. I will still use Facebook and Twitter going forward to communicate static messages to those I need to reach so these policies are something I need developed/followed.

A PLN is a great idea and I think that the virtual think tank aspect of it is something which excites me the most. Having different people to bounce my personal ideas off of is nice as someone undertaking several entrepreneurial endeavors, but I also wonder why I would choose to use a social media platform instead of something more confidential at its core like Email.

Being part of the creation of a MOOC with my PLN was a great eye opener to how future learning environments will be shaped. While I do not anticipate myself participating in MOOCS  to a large degree it is definitely a potential to see what my nieces or nephews learning experiences might look like in 10 years.

In the end, while this class has opened up my mind to the potential social media offers to real world education it is not something I see myself ever falling in love with or embracing entirely. Since I am not someone who formally teaches younger students I am OK with taking this personal stance. While a younger generation may live and breathe social media to a large extent, the majority of people I have to disseminate information to or educate are adults who aren’t adopting or using these tools outside of LinkedIn at any meaningful level. I know there are more adults using social media every day and having meaningful/powerful experiences. However, I just can’t see myself using something on a large scale that I am not personally bought into.

Don’t get me wrong I do see the power social media holds, lying in wait to help educate a new generation for those who choose to use it. I felt the addicting and powerful draw of social media when Facebook first reared its head. I think this was a novelty based on being offered a virtual window into the lives of others. As my appreciation for Facebook has dwindled I always wondered if I would feel that sort of addiction and draw from social networking ever again. When we started this course and using Twitter I was hoping that it would be the tool to suck me back in. Thanks to this course I used it enough and learned enough about it to see why others appreciate the utility of it, but ultimately it was not going to be the gateway to draw me back into social networking. While the core Twitter function is powerful I am someone who doesn’t want to juggle multiple third party extensions or apps in order to make using Twitter an easily manageable and seamless experience.

I am a naturally introverted person and no matter how much I force myself I don’t see social media ever truly hooking me beyond the level of brief novelty. I know I am a minority, but I have come to recognize that I learn best alone, searching out and reflecting on information and ideas all by my lonesome. If information is what I seek I know where to look for it. If I look at how social media benefits me it’s  for things I can’t or don’t find on my own but that other people who do use social media aggregate for me to some degree. I tend to get my up-to-date news and discover new things through one of the two main Discussion Forums I read. I largely don’t find it important for me to be on social-networking for my personal gain when others are going to do the work for me.

If anything this course led me to ponder a time when every single person on the planet (or at least those who matter in my sphere of existence) is on a social network. When everyone is on the same network is it still special and beneficial without any level of exclusivity? When we get the point that an Ai can search the world’s social networks and curate me anything I want why would I need to participate?

All in all this class made me think hard about the current state of education, social media, and the continually developing intersections of technology and learning as a whole. In my book anything that makes me think of new ideas, question old ones, or look at myself in a new light is a positive experience. If proposing a grade for my blogging during this course I would rate myself a 70/75. I think it ended up not focused entirely on my professional practice and self-assessment, but also also offered me a good place for self reflection.

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Social Media Policies

I began this assignment by looking through my college and district websites and internal network for any sort of social media policies already in place. I found our “Computer and Network Use Agreement” expecting such policies to reside there, but alas there was not a single mention of social media or social networking. Ultimately I found there are some general electronic communication policies, but no specific policies  regarding appropriate structure, use, and management of social media/networks.

I spent some time looking at the policies of other colleges out there as well as the Edutopia article before coming up with the list below. I work at a community college that is part of a three college district so I tried to create a more general set of policies that could be adoptable district wide.

Social Media Policies

1)      Any college or district affiliated entity must submit a proposal to the district office to receive authorization for creating a new social media site and/or account explaining the purpose of the site/account and a plan for managing it.

2)      Any college or district affiliated entity that has its own social media site(s) and/or account(s) must have a designated administrator/point of contact for said site(s) and/or account(s).

3)      All previously established district policies concerning inappropriate behavior such as sexual harassment, discrimination, copyright, etc. shall also apply to any social media activity and communication.

4)      Any college or district affiliated entity department must publish the terms of use, disclaimers, and privacy policy set forth by the district on social media site(s) and/or account(s).

5)      Student, staff, or faculty members shall also abide by the Terms of Service established by any social media platform being used, i.e Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

6)      Any student, staff, or faculty member using college social media site(s) and/or account(s) must do so under their real name and indicate their relationship to the college or district.

7)      For any use of social media in coursework delivery or dissemination of information, an alternative delivery method must be offered for persons unable or unwilling to utilize social media.

8)      Avoid duplicating preexisting content through social media and instead provide links back to the appropriate section of the college or district websites as needed.

9)      Staff and faculty administering social media sites and/or accounts should be prompt in responding to all inquiries and questions submitted by users.

10)   Students, staff, and faculty shall not use college or district affiliated social media sites and/or accounts to transmit junk/bulk communication or spread rumors and other unsubstantiated information.

11)    Students, staff, and faculty must pay attention to spelling, grammar, or other language that may lead to confusion or misunderstand.

12)   When using social media sites and/or accounts not affiliated or administered by a college or district entity, the district shall reserve the right under certain circumstances to impose disciplinary action on students, staff, and faculty such as dismissal from college or termination of employment in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

As far as sharing this policy with all stakeholders to gather feedback I came up with a few strategies that could be used. I would start interviewing or perhaps putting out an anonymous online survey to students, staff, and faculty regarding their perceptions of social media and personal experiences with it. I would also gather more research on social media policies used by other colleges or college districts similar in size/structure to ours.Once I have gathered this feedback and research and revised any policies accordingly I would finally seek to present this proposed set of policies to the appropriate district advisory groups, which for this would be our Administrative Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC), and Distance Learning Task Force (DLTF). Once the policy is in place or adopted in its original or a modified version there would need to be periodic reviews to the policy, perhaps annually addressing current issues or trends in social media so it stays up-to-date.

Resources

Anderson, S. (2012, April 11). Social media guidelines. Edutopia Education Trends. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/social-media-guidelines-steven-anderson

Berkeley college social media policy. (2012, October 18). Retrieved from http://berkeleycollege.edu/files_bc/Social_Media_Policy.pdf

Bryan college, social media policies. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.bryan.edu/social_media_policies.html

Maricopa comunity colleges, online policy manual,4.20 social media. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.maricopa.edu/publicstewardship/governance/adminregs/auxiliary/4_20.php

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Social Networking for Teaching and Learning

In this post I looked at ten projects/case studies of social network/social media usage in Higher Education settings. For each I offered a summary of the highlights I found and how it impacted me personally from a professional standpoint. You can also find the same content curated via my Scoop.it account at http://www.scoop.it/t/social-networking-for-teaching-and-learning .

Projects/Case Studies

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/waters_0610.pdf

In this case study a “Social Media and Public Relations” course incorporated the social bookmarking tool Delicious.com offered at a Southeastern. Going into the class most of the 59 students enrolled in the course were unaware of social bookmarking and in particular the Delicious.com tool.  According to the study an overwhelming majority of these students appreciated the platform allowing their professor “to pull together up-to-date, relevant links”. Some of the other benefits of using Delicious noted by students included being provided links to real world examples of concepts discussed in class and getting alternative perspectives on subjects through shared blogs or news stories. Other benefits seen by students were that the ranking of links by classmates served to assess the merit or quality of the resources being shared and the use of tags made the source of the info clear. This case gives me the idea of using a delicious account for staff professional development in my office. Because I work in the area of finances we constantly have to stay up to date with industry regulations, trends, ideas, and what other schools or offices are doing. A shared Delicious account would promote learning amongst staff.

http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/projects/effective-use-of-social-software-in-education-casestudies.pdf#90

In this case study the University of Manchester used EduBlogs and Facebook in its School of Dentistry to overcome challenges communicating with its 400+ students. The blog is used share resources for students to learn and network through, they also use it for a Q&A function that helps students ask questions who are normally afraid to in a face-to-face class setting. According to the school, “Facebook is used for discussion forums, organizing social events, and distribution of a weekly update, and to provide a platform for staff to answer any academic questions”. The successful integration of social media to communicate was largely attributed to the fact that students were already using social media such as Facebook for personal purposes. Main benefits identified as a result of using social networking have been better collaboration amongst students and staff, a better sense of community, and having a strong platform for sharing of news and events. This offered good insight into how a blog can be used just beyond posting stories or information and using it for interactivity. I am currently looking at ways to target information and offer communication a communication venue to the student athlete population I deal with. I think this sort of practice could be relevant in achieving my goals with that.

http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/elearning/Digilifelong/Case%20study%201%20-%20Managing%20transition%20into%20higher%20education.pdf

This case study involved the University of Bradford who used the Ning social networking platform facilitate the process of new students transitioning into the university. They chose to use this platform to develop a more integrated and inclusive social network rather than using Facebook or something else that was more established because they determined some students were uncomfortable using them. Student’s use this Ning based social network to start making friends with future classmates, share their feelings or concerns about coming to the university, and ask any questions they have. The social network has been successful and continues to grow. Both staff and student feedback on the University program driving this network has been positive, which they claim “indicates a positive impact on engagement, transition, retention and progression”. One of the biggest challenges working in my area of higher education is dealing with students and parents entering the system for the very first time. Since it is a big transition going from high school to college I think a social network dedicated to aiding in the transition process is a brilliant idea. The students and parents in this bracket typically all have the same sort of questions and concerns. A network specifically for them could definitely help me address these people all more easily, but at the same time it would also create an environment where they can help and learn amongst themselves.

 

http://ijcit.com/archives/volume2/issue1/Paper020102.pdf

This case study examined the use of social networking in higher education in Zimbabwe. Facebook is the most widely used social networking technology according to the study. The main findings regarding use of social networking sites by students were that they use it for either general or specific school work; and most of this work is group assignments. One related finding was that students do gain some specific skills by using social networking sites, specifically technology, communication, research and academic writing ability. The authors conclude that based on their findings Zimbabwe should   embrace using social media in the learning process so students can best build these skills. This was insightful for me to see some of the certain skills students gain through utilizing social media in their learning process. The fact that in this country Facebook is the most widely used network tells me that it is probably the same here in the USA. Based on this case study I am going to look into how I can possibly enhance the use of our Facebook page as a teaching tool for certain initiatives instead of just using it to send out messages.

http://www.slideshare.net/hootsuite/hootsuite-university-newhouse-case-study

This was an example of how a social media professor the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University used the HootSuite University platform to actually increase students’ knowledge and skills in using social media in business. Not only does it act as a teaching tool but it also has the function of being able to evaluate student social media. Social Media professor Dr. Ward also used the HootSuite platform to be able to track student tweets, hashtags, and more to gauge student participation in his course. According to the case study, by integrating social networking assignments the learning of students was no longer held to just weekly assignments and in-class exams because the social media engagement became part of the assigned work. I found this to be great insight into a formal education opportunity on social networking. HootSuite was not something I had ever heard of before coming across this Case Study but now I am intrigued by it. In my field there is constant talk of using social media to help our work and our students but nobody ever seems to have the skills needed to do so. I will be sharing HootSuite University with my supervisors as a possible means to educate key campus staff on best practices and techniques for social media/networking.

http://journals.heacademy.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.11120/elss.2013.05010065

This study looked at whether or not a social networking site (Facebook) created by English students and the shared with the university staff at Sheffield Hallam University would be helpful for developing course “identity” in conjunction with hosting the actual class in the campus virtual learning environment (VLE). The VLE used by the university was Blackboard. The study identifies how important it is for staff to embrace social networking because it is an important part of student life. Student’s greatly value the use of social networking sites to facilitate their learning and promote engagement. Staff in this study tended to agree with students on the need to use the social networking site but raised the point that balance needs to be drawn for how they interact with students in this realm. I relate this to my professional area of work in that we are constantly finding it a struggle to police interaction amongst students and staff to a reasonable level. The good thing about social media is everyone can get their voice out the bad part I have experienced from that is the system is then also open to abuse. This article gave some good insight into the student’s perspective and how both sides can perhaps best embrace and navigate the territory of social networks.

http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1222/2313

In this case study the researchers explored how students used Twitter on mobile devices “Microblogging” as a tool for collecting, sharing, and commenting to complete learning activities. This was an interesting find for me because this example comes from Boise State University professors Yu-Chang Hsu and Yu-Hui Ching and the EDTECH program coursework. In this particular section of the instructional design course students were required to have smartphones or other mobile device with a camera and internet connectivity. Students were required to tweet once a week over a twelve week period which included incorporating a graphic design example taken from their real world experiences. They then had to reply to the peers of their tweets. Both the original tweets and replies had to include hash tags. The results of this study showed that “Microblogging” did in fact support learning as “students were able to co-construct knowledge through their exchange of tweets. I think that the concept these professors came up with is something I can adapt in some form with financial literacy coursework. With students coming across financial transactions and happenings every single day I like the idea of having them incorporate their own real-life experience into the learning process. By having them share these experiences through “Microblogging” they can learn from each other’s financial successes and failures.

http://www.v3im.com/2012/06/social-media-in-higher-education-case-study-carlowu/#axzz2jdFzgnkZ

In this project Carlow University introduced Facebook and Twitter for campus use in 2008. They used it as more of an information gathering tool to start to find out what students and parents were saying, and what questions or concerns they had. They in turn used this to build strategies catering to these same people. These strategies include crafting the language and images shared via Facebook or Twitter so they will best appeal to parents or students since each has different sensitivities or hot points. This way the university is creating the image it wants to portray and getting helping positively impact its recruiting efforts. The university doesn’t just guess at what social media strategies are working it collects data in terms of what type of posts get the most likes and those which get the least attention. What I learned from this post for my personal professional growth is that you need to constantly be monitoring and tweaking your social media campaign based on what is actually working. For my office right now we just post information via the networks but we don’t actually collect data or monitor to see what is being re-tweeted or liked etc. We are constantly too focused on the content we are putting out but now whether or not it actually helped us in a meaningful way and getting the data to back it up.

http://www.academia.edu/1514567/The_Integration_of_Social_Media_into_Courses_A_Literature_Review_and_Case_Study_from_Experiences_at_Tufts_University_School_of_Medicine

This case study looked at the impact of integrating social media into a Tufts University School of Medicine course. Twitter and Facebook were the social networks actually used by students as part of their coursework but the primary focus was Twitter. Students were encouraged to Tweet throughout the course and had to setup an account prior to the start of class. They were also given an introduction to using Twitter in a class setting. The major integration of Twitter in the course was participating in a weekly one-hour Twitter chat moderated by the Medical Editor of ABCnews.com. Students by majority conveyed positive feedback about using social media to facilitate learning.One thing that I connected with personally from this study was how some of the students experiences differed in terms of feelings on the social networking integration in their course. The study indicated that these differences can come largely from the students’ level of experience with the media or platform going in. I actually related this back to this EDTECH 543 course. As someone with no Twitter experience going into the course I can see how my experience would be less positive than someone who was comfortable using Twitter. Where I am learning how to use hash tags and chats from the ground up others are perhaps learning more of the nuances and perfecting the craft. They might get a different level of satisfaction, learning, or professional growth than me.

http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/wellington12/2012/images/custom/allen,_belinda_-_creativity_in.pdf

This research looked at several cases of experimental social media integration in higher education. It specifically looked at the University of New South Wales, “where social media tools have been used to foster student interaction and participation. “ One great example of social media integration done here was the use of wikis for designing and assessing an online group project. Another implementation of social media in higher education done at this University was actually using Facebook to create a so called “Learning Loop”. According to the study this “Learning Loop” comes from the use of Facebook to expand student discussion of course content after the lecture, then into the actual lesson, and then carrying it back into the lecture again, creating a collaboration cycle of sorts. These interesting examples of social media integration into the learning process are inspiring to me as future educator. The biggest thing I took to heart from this research article was the importance of embracing creativity in coming up with ways to integrate social media in education. It makes an important point and one that I want to subscribe to going forward and that is to not have fear in pushing the boundaries of what we do. New technologies give us the chance to experiment with learning approaches where we can learn alongside our students.

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PLE Diagram

PLE The communities represented in my PLE Diagram above include:

  1. Moodle
  2. Boise State EDTECH
  3. Facebook
  4. Instagram
  5. WordPress
  6. Flickr
  7. Twitter
  8. LinkedIn
  9. Google+
  10. Youtube

When I think about my PLE I see it as something that is constantly growing and will continue grow for the rest of my life. I embraced the theme of professional growth while creating my Diagram and so I thought the idea to represent it through the shape of a tree. I would note that my PLE is not just a facet of my professional growth or tool for learning however, it is also an outlet for sharing my ideas and facilitating social interactions.

I put the Moodle and Boistate EDTECh logos at the bottom of my tree because I see them as the roots of my constantly developing PLE. Before starting the EDTECH program and diving into my courses on Moodle I had never even heard of a PLE before. I have Instagram in the trunk. Even though I never began using it with the intention of professional learning, it actually was the first community where I experienced the benefit of a PLE first hand. I consider it as sort of a light bulb moment for me and a bridge to adding other communities to my PLE.

Google+ and YouTube make up the heart or fruit of the tree (I kind of used them as apples) because they are where I share the majority of learning outcomes with the world. The other communities make up the sky or air because I see them as what feeds my knowledge and inspires me.

In looking at the PLE Diagrams of my classmates I noticed many commonly shared communities such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+. Another common thing I noticed was that several people noted the fact they use these communities not only as learning tools for school and work but also for social interaction.  A third common thread I noticed and something interesting thing to me was the real world environment’s people used as frames for their PLE’s. For example Jessie Rouse drew hers within the frame of an Ipad, Nona Barker used the shape of a human body in an analogous way to express her vision. Katelyn miller used her own picture as the center of a web of communities. Jodi stevens use of a bee/honeycomb theme was a unique way to frame the PLE concept and a perfect analogy to an interconnected community for learning.

Rebecca Olien raised the importance of connecting social networking to real world experiences, which I also tried to do. I loved Greg Andrade’s choice of having all his communities tie back into the computer mouse. It was understated but powerful to think that without the computer mouse being developed many years ago these communities wouldn’t likely exist in their current form, if at all.

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Real-Time Proffesional Development – Twitter Chats

When I began looking for twitter chats to attend. I started by looking for some that wood fall in my main content area of financial aid or financial literacy but there really wasn’t anything great that I came across. I found one which was #CollegeCash, which I barely caught the tail end of. From what I experienced it was very off topic and didn’t seem to have a moderator taking charge so I didn’t actually participate just sort of watched the tweets fly by for the last 10 minutes. This was a brief and not so positive introduction for me to Twitter Chatting. Next I tried to attend one called #CollegeChat that I heard about and it seemed to be dead at the supposed time it was to be held. There were some old tweets of people sharing links but that was about it. After that I tried to attend what was supposed to be a financial literacy themed chat and it was literally people talking about how to make Halloween costumes on a budget and people raffling off discount codes to their websites or mailing lists so I quickly bounced out of there.

With these experiences behind me I ultimately decided to try and attend some of the education focused chats from the “Weekly Twitter Chat Times” spreadsheet provided too us as a resource. This finally lead me to discover some great chats, with the only issue I came across being a start time that was not accurate. There was a chat I missed by an hour because it actually started at CST rather than EST as listed.

The first chat I attended was #caedchat. The focus on chat for this night was on connected learning and being a connected educator with participants being educators from California. The forum used the widely accepted Q:1&A1: format for questions and answers, which made the chat very organized. I learned that many people have various perspectives on what being a connected educator is. One of the interesting experiences in this first chat was that before starting everyone did a good job of introducing themselves, this actually led me to learn one of the participants was a principle of an elementary school 15 minutes from where I lived. I ended up doing a bit of backchannel communication by introducing myself and letting her know she had a new contact at the local community college if I could help her students in any way.

TwitterChat1caedchatThe second chat I attended was #sigml. This night the topic was actually Minecraft in learning so it was not what I expected going in. As I have recently developed an interest in Minecraft however it was very informative. People shared great links to projects their students had done in Minecraft and I was surprised to find how some people used it for teaching students as young as kindergartners.

TwitterChat2sigml.MinecraftsubjectI learned was that there are also many ways Minecraft can facilitate learning in subjects you wouldn’t normally think of. It was widely agreed by participants that the creative aspect of Minecraft causes students to come up with learning experiences their teachers never would have thought of from the get-go.

2

The third chat I participated in was #patue. The focus for the night was Copyright & Fair Use issues in relation to educational technology. One interesting aspect of this chat I participated in was how someone took on the responsibility of logging all the links being shared by participants to some of the questions. They did so using a website called www.livebinders.com and shared a link with everyone. This was nice for two reasons, I didn’t have to try and keep track of all the links being shared myself and also learned about a new and useful site.

TwitChat3PATUEproofIf there was one issue I encountered with this chat it was that some people didn’t stick to the Q:1&A:1 format for typing their tweets. Also some people sort of broke off into side conversations, which lead one of the moderators to have to remind people that the chat itself wasn’t the backchannel. My key learning moment here was the importance of strong moderation and netiquette in making one of these chats as successful as possible. I think it is important to keep off-topic discussions or 1:1 interactions to backchannels or it detracts from the experience of participants as a whole. All in all I still got some great links and resources out of this chat and there was some excellent and focused discussion by key participants.

TwitChat3PATUEproof2

The 4th Twitter Chat I attended was the #Smartee chat. Going into this chat I wasn’t sure if it was going to be focused entirely around SMART boards or not as the name implied. I learned through some other people’s questions before the chat started that this wasn’t the case (or wasn’t supposed to be at least).  Instead this chat was supposed to be about being a smart teacher and how to teach in smart ways. To quote one of the participants “SMARTee stands for SMART exemplary educators! We chat about everything, mostly our growth and tech!”. The moderator then made a point to let newcomers know that the chat was “not specific to the SMART Board or any other device but just about sharing best practices as a PLN”. Then a funny thing happened, which was that the chat became entirely about smart boards for the first 45 minutes. So the moderator’s statements were kind of contradicted. I felt awkward because I couldn’t even participate in the subject until the 4th question. This was my least favorite chat because of how little I could offer to the conversation. I did get a good introduction and advanced peek into SMART board technology usage regardless.

TwitChat4Smarteeproof2TwitChat4Smarteeproof1

I feel that Twitter Chats can be a good networking tool, a way to hear or learn new perspectives, and a nice means of sharing links to resources. I do however think they are hard to locate and hard to follow. I think perhaps if you were a very experienced “Tweeter” you might have a different experience, but for me it was overwhelming. The only way I feel I managed whatsoever was through using the amazing TweetChat website to help facilitate the process for me. I think if Twitter itself want’s to embrace chat through their site and expand their audience they need to come up with an internal/integrated mechanism for finding and participating in them. I found a couple chat listing sites including http://gnosisarts.com/index.php?title=Tweetchat_Wiki/By_Day and  http://tweetreports.com/twitter-chat-schedule/ but nothing I would recommend to people. In the end I have mixed feelings about this sort of real time professional development but it is something I will explore and give another chance in the future.

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Effective Curation Criteria Checklist – Development Reflection

When starting out our development process the first agreed upon task was to determine what platform we would be using to create the list together. It was quickly agreed upon to use Googe Docs (Google Drive) since we could all access it easily with our u.boisestate.edu email accounts (no need to create a new account for something) and it offers an easy centralized document editing ( we could all add and delete as needed or make comments). We then decided to start the development process by all coming up with our own lists of criteria and the references to go with them. This allowed us to read this weeks resources and research as our own schedules allowed. The plan after this phase was to then go in after an consolidate all similar ideas/concepts into a single list of referenced criteria. Once we had our separate lists in the single shared document Glori Hinck stepped up and did the major consolidation work. At that point the group as a whole worked on formatting and editing for a clean appearance with proper APA formatting. I learned that most web tools don’t allow for correct indenting of APA formatting. Daniel Oldham posted a link to our final list on the class Facebook to finish the assignment.Overall this was a smooth process and I think the members of my PLN all made great contributions.

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Crafting a Desirable Digital Footprint: My Online Reputation Management Plan

In creating a plan to improve my digital footprint I looked at ways to not only craft a desirable personal image, but how to best manage the reputation of my business and professional persona as well. In researching tips and information on how one can best manage their digital footprint I found many similar recommendations amongst resources, but I also noticed some diversity in the suggestions based on what audience the recommendations were geared toward (young, old, personal, business, etc.). For this reason I took a customized approach toward what I felt was most important to me and my goals. My proposed steps toward leaving a lasting positive legacy online both personally and professionally are outlined below.

1. Get organized as far as what accounts I have out there and deactivate or delete what I don’t need or use anymore. For example I don’t use MySpace or Pandora anymore so why do I need to have those accounts open still. Deleting these will not only mean someone won’t be able to hack them and use them without me realizing it, but it should hopefully also leave less passive information out there for people to gather on me (Bell, 2012)

2. Setup tools to track and monitor my personal and professional information. Whether using Google Alerts to track my personal and business name (Bell, 2012), or custom RSS feeds which can be used to track keyword searches that may be related to me (Beal, 2006).

3. Research new advancements in monitoring mechanisms on at least an annual basis and implement or change my approach/tactics as available/needed. The internet is constantly evolving and this means no single tool will keep up with every social network, search engine, or channel of information (Angotti, 2011).

4. Create a better password management approach to keep my accounts secure. I am constantly using dozens of different passwords between my personal, business, and day job usage. It becomes a struggle to manage all the different passwords I have; especially with some business/work software or sites I use requiring changes every 2-3 months. I will be moving to use a password management tool such as LastPass which can help minimize frustration and keep my passwords safe (Bell, 2012).

5. Work to ensure my personal identity is separated from my business identity as much as possible. The first step I will take toward accomplishing this is to use my Facebook for strictly personal relationships and LinkedIn for all professional relationships (Girard, 2011).

6. Create an emergency brand management plan for my business. With my online business launching next year I have not yet given thought to how I would manage my reputation in the wake of a worst case scenario such as a major hacking attack or defamation of character from a competitor (Angotti, 2011).  I will be establishing a backup plan that I can quickly reference in emergency should something go seriously awry.

7. Conduct outreach to potential customers for my business to create a positive image. This will include going to forums, user groups, or message boards where my prospective customer base might be congregating. I will try and become trusted through active participation and building relationships with vocal members in these places (Beal, 2006).

8. Consistently step back and take the time to view my online persona from an outsiders perspective by looking myself up on Google, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and a few of the other sites to see what comes up (Girard, 2011). This will allow me to identify any behavior that a friend, family member, colleague, or perspective client/employer may look at poorly in case I have failed to “think before posting” (Pelgin, 2012).

9. Try and be ethical about my behavior online and not resort to any drastic, inappropriate, or illegal (black hat) methods to control or improve my online personal and professional  reputation as this can come back to hurt me in the end (Morris, 2007).

10. Come up with a “digital estate plan”. I will be setting up instructions and a protocol for my fiancée and family to follow for when I eventually pass away. While not something most people think about the digital assets they have collected they need to be accounted for and a means for providing access to them  (Kellogg, 2013).

Angotti, D. (2011, November 08). Proactive reputation management strategies. Retrieved from http://www.searchenginejournal.com/proactive-online-reputation-management/35871/

Beal, A. (2006, March 7). Free online reputation management beginner’s guide. Retrieved from http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2006/03/online-reputation-monitoring-beginners.html

Bell, M. (2012, February 03). Beware of privacy policies: Time to clean up your digital footprint. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/beware-of-privacy-policies-time-to-hide-your-digital-footprint/2012/01/31/gIQADI7PnQ_story.html

Girard, A. (2011, September 19). managing your digital footprint. Retrieved from http://www.ccaurora.edu/blogs/faculty-staff/art-design/managing-your-digital-footprint/

Kellogg, S. (2013, January). Managing your digital afterlife: Cyber footprint, ownership, and access . Retrieved from http://www.dcbar.org/for_lawyers/resources/publications/washington_lawyer/january_2013/digital_afterlife.cfm

Morris, D. (2007, April 27). Top 10 strategies to improve your online reputation. Retrieved from http://www.distilled.net/blog/reputation-monitor/top-10-strategies-to-improve-your-online-reputation/

Pelgin, W. (2012, July). managing your digital footprint: think before you post. Retrieved from http://msisac.cisecurity.org/newsletters/2012-07.cfm

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