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Transcript - Managing your digital footprint

TRAINER: Hello, and welcome to this session "Managing your Digital Footprint." My name is Rachel, and I am a Learning and Teaching Librarian and I'll be taking you through this session.

So by the end of this session, you will understand what is meant by your digital footprint and how it impacts upon you, be able to identify how social media and your digital footprint can work for you, and also be able to identify positive ways to use social media. And those will be the learning outcomes for this session.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines digital footprint as "the information about a particular person that exists on the internet as a result of that online activity". And so that's what we mean by digital footprint. If you use the internet, you'll leave behind a digital footprint. So during this session, we will consider how you can make your digital footprint work for you and to your advantage. 

Discover your digital footprint. Let's start off by seeing what we can discover about our own digital footprints. If you search for your name on the internet, you'll find some indication of your digital footprint. So let's give that a try. Pause the video and give yourself three minutes to search for yourself. I recommend entering your name in inverted commas. And if you don't find anything straightaway, try adding some additional information such as your location. 

Now you've completed that activity. It's worth considering what you have found. When you apply for a job, it's possible that your potential employer will also search for you on the internet. So think about the information and what does it say about you. 

Reflecting on your digital footprint-- the extent of your digital footprint will depend on how you use the internet. When you use the internet as a tool to perform a discrete task such as purchase something on Amazon or to search for information on Google, your digital footprint is relatively light. Your search engine will remember your activity, and we'll look at the impact of that in a moment. 

But you are not creating content which will be visible online. When you do create content, such as when you update your status on a social networking site or comment on a blog post, you are creating discoverable content which other people can see. This is the kind of content that probably came up when you searched for yourself earlier. 

The content and style of the material that you post online will vary depending on your audience. Posts to family and friends on social networking sites are likely to be much more informal and personal than comments on academic forums or sites like LinkedIn. Have a think about your own online behaviour. Pause the video and spend a couple of minutes making a list of the type of things you regularly do online. 

When you're making your lists, try to distinguish between what is personal and what is professional. I'd pause the video for three minutes to complete this task. 

Activities in both columns will leave a digital footprint. And one way of managing your digital footprint is to have separate accounts for your personal and private lives. You'll see in the personal site we've got blogging, posting on social networking sites, watching YouTube, browsing and shopping on the internet, or posts about me on social networking sites.

And in the professional and academic side, we also have blogging, posting on professional and networking sites, watching YouTube, online academic research, and articles or posts about me in the professional academic press. So as I've just stated it might be good to have separate accounts for your personal and professional lives. 

Avoiding a digital footprint on search engines-- let's think now about your digital footprint that's left when you search the internet. Websites like Google record your searches. They use this information to personalise your search results and any advertisements. 

If you regularly search for information on a specific topic, Google will prioritise search results that it believes are most relevant to you. It bases this information on the search history that is part of your digital footprint. Though there are undoubtedly advantages to this, there are ways to minimise the digital trail you create with your internet searching. 

You can use a search engine, which does not track your searches. And the best one that's known for this is DuckDuckGo. Alternatively, if you use web browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox, you can switch on their privacy settings, which can be found in the Settings option of your browser. 

When you use these private browsing options, your search history is not recorded. This can be useful if you share a computer with other people and do not want the search history to affect their search results. 

Just for information, if you want to switch on private browsing in a Google Chrome, you can click on the three dots that appear on the top right of the screen and select the new Incognito window. There are similar processes available in Firefox and Microsoft Edge. 

However, private browsing does not make you anonymous on the internet. Although no search history is saved, your internet service provider and employer, or the sites themselves, can still gather information about the pages you visit. Do remember that if you do have any questions about any of the content in this session, you can contact the library helpdesk for support. 

So what is social media? Let's now think about your use of social media and how that can affect your digital footprint. So let's start with a quick definition. By social media, we mean those online platforms where you can publish your own content, including text, photos, videos, and sound. Examples of social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, forums, wikis, review sites, and photo sharing sites. 

Social media and retaining an employer's trust-- so let's think now about the kind of posts that appear on social media. On the slide, we have listed three posts. The first one, "Cisco just offered me a job. Now, I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work". The second one, "I'm not going to lie, a lot of girls need to learn the art of class". And three, "Having a great holiday with my friends and family, so glad not to be at work with my colleagues". 

What I'd like you to do now is pause the video and just consider which of these might impact negatively on the individual who posted them. Take two minutes to think about this and then come back to the video. 

All three posts could have negative consequences for the individual. Connor Riley posted the first, and this was a tweet being made about a job that was offered by Cisco. Another Cisco employee found the tweet and asked for the name of the hiring manager. 

The second one, this was from England cricketer Ollie Robinson. It was found on a day when the England cricket team started the day off wearing T-shirts showing their dedication to tackling inequalities. A series of prior discriminatory tweets were found. Ollie Robinson did not lose his contract, but was taken through a full disciplinary process. 

The ECB's chief executive officer Tom Harrison commented, "I do not have the words to express how disappointed I am that England's men's players have chosen to write a tweet of this nature, however long ago that might have been. And we are better than this. We have a zero-tolerance stance to any form of discrimination. And there are rules in place that handle conduct of this nature. We will initiate a full investigation as part of our disciplinary process." 

The third comment is made up. However, it's the sort of comment you've probably seen on social media. It's not professional and could lead to losing respect from colleagues and have a negative impact upon your prospects. 

Social media and retaining an employer's trust-- so here's a positive example of how social media can impact on employment. Jason Brown had written 500 job applications with no luck, so he created a Twitter account to highlight his skills, his qualifications, and his attributes. 

His followers then provided tips and advice to improve his CV. After submitting a CV to Web Help UK, he was invited to an interview in which he was successful. The head of recruitment's comments show that Jason's clever use of social media directly led to his appointment. They said this was "an innovative approach to securing a career after university. His use of social media reflects an appreciation for the benefits of multi-channel communication". 

Popular social media sites include LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. And we're going to discuss each of these sites now and consider how they can be used to your advantage. 

So LinkedIn, this is the world's largest professional network. Using LinkedIn is one way to build a positive footprint online. Those who sign in and sign up to it have the opportunity to search for careers as a job seeker or post adverts as an employer. Members, both workers and employers, can create profiles and connect with each other in an online social, yet professional network. And these may mirror professional working relationships. Members can invite anyone, whether they're an existing member or not, to connect with them. 

And then Instagram-- Instagram's primarily a photo and video sharing social networking service. Media can be uploaded to an account, and this content could be organised with tags and hashtags. Accounts can be private or public. Private accounts have to approve followers, or you can automatically start following public accounts. You can like other photos and also comment on other people's content. Instagram then suggests other content or followers based on your likes and searches. It's worth noting Facebook now owns Instagram, and you can sync the two accounts. 

Then Twitter-- Twitter is a micro-blogging site. So each tweet can contain up to 280 characters. Posts can now include videos, images, and links. And Twitter is used for a variety of reasons, including keeping up-to-date with news and developments, opinion, and social commentary, sharing information, and promotions, and keeping up-to-date in your subject area. It's also worth noting that academics use Twitter to promote their work. 

Social media tips-- so whenever you're posting online it's sensible to consider your digital footprint. Here are a few tips to help you leave a positive and professional impression online. So manage your image, how you portray yourself and your online profile proactively. 

Consider how your audience is going to respond to you before you share and think about who they are, who is reading your posts, and whether it is suitable for them. Always think about what a potential employer might view before posting. Revisit previous posts and edit and delete if, in hindsight, these might not be with the profile of your employer and what they might expect. 

Keep track of your privacy settings and update when necessary. Remember that your network may share your posts, reaching audiences who are not originally intended. So utilise your settings to manage who can share or see your posts. And be careful about what you say and how this might come across to people do not expect to read it. 

Keep track of your followers. Some sites allow people to follow you without approval. So you may not always know exactly who is seeing your content. Also, if you have lots of friends or followers, it can be easy to forget who sees your posts and comments, especially if they do not interact with you regularly. Think about this before you share or interact. 

It might be useful to create separate professional and personal accounts. And consider the implications of posting personal and emotive information before you act. It's difficult to take back what we write online. And things posted when we are stressed or emotional might be misunderstood or upset us when we see them later. 

Follow key thinkers in your subject area. So if there is an employer you would really like to work for, seek them out on social media. Showcase your digital and communication skills. Post content that's timely and relevant and well-thought out. Always remembering your posts and comments might be shared by others. 

Share the experience and expertise you have to help attract positive interaction. And showcase your digital and communication skills through well-constructed engagement. Look at the language used by your network and try to reflect this in your interactions. 

So, engaging with social media-- as we've seen, you can use sites like Twitter and Instagram to connect with useful organisations. And these could support your study needs, your careers, and your personal interests. So I'm going to share my screen now to show you some examples of the kind of content that organisations share on their social media accounts. 

As you will see on the screen, we have the web page for the Royal Society for Chemistry. Different organisations will have different content and use different social media sites. The Royal Society for Chemistry has an Instagram site and a Twitter site, which you can engage with. 

We visited the page for the Royal Society of Chemistry, and we can see there is the Twitter icon, which I'm going to select. This will then give you some of the latest tweets from the Royal Society for Chemistry. It shows you some of the content that's available on their site. And you can explore using hashtags and find other information which might be available there. 

The Royal Society for Chemistry has links to podcasts, careers links, open access lectures. So you don't actually need to open the posts. You can just go and have a look at some of the actual information that's there and choose what you want to interact with. And so it could be helpful for careers. It could be helpful for your employment as well. 

I'm now going to go to the site for the Institute for Chartered Accountants. Once again, we're at their normal website. But using the home page, the landing page, we can see, once again, icons for social media. And in this case, I'm going to select the Instagram icon. 

And once again, we can see the variety of some of the content that they might have on their social media page. We've got links to the experience of an independent student who's worked for the Institute for Chartered Accountants. And it also has links to things about the exams, which Chartered Accountants might go through. 

So you can use a web page, and you'll be able to find quite often on the home page links to their social media accounts. And you can visit them and choose whether you would like to interact. I'm going to stop sharing my screen. And I will return to the slides. 

And it's your turn. So I would suggest that you pause the video and search for people or organisations that might be potentially useful to your subject. From their web pages, find if they use Twitter and Instagram. Visit these pages and decide whether to connect and follow. If you have accounts already, and you're using a mobile phone or device or you have one to hand, you might want to have a look using your mobile device as well. 

Where to go for help. So if at any point you need further advice, please contact the library helpdesk. You'll see there's a link to the help desk on each page of the website. We can help you with lots of other things, such as searching and referencing, as well as accessing resources. 

Our phones are staffed 9:00 to 5:00 Monday to Friday, or you can send us an email. We also have web chat services which are available 24/7. So you can contact us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The details are on the screen now. 

And if you do want to know more about managing your digital footprint positively, on the slide here there are links to some library activities that you can work through at any time and visit as many times as you need. And these links are available on the handouts too. 

So summary, hopefully you now feel confident enough to manage your digital footprint positively and successfully. And we have covered what is meant by your digital footprint and how it impacts upon you, how social media and your digital footprint can work for you, and positive ways to use social media. 

These slides are available to download. And you can download them from the page where you join the Adobe Connect room. And there is also a handout available for this session too. Please remember as well if you need any further assistance, you can contact the library helpdesk. 

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