As one to always err on the side of caution, I have been very careful about what I post on line. In fact, I avoided participating in any form of social media until I took EdTech 501. That provided me my first social networking experience with Facebook. I created an account, completed my assignments, but that was it. Posting a photo on Facebook was completely out of the picture for me until I began to take EdTech 543. It has made me very uncomfortable but I have done it and had several old friends from the Navy contact me as soon as they saw the photo. I guess the blank photo space scared them off. After that point, my experience with Facebook has been nothing but negative.
Living in a world where digital footprints are nearly unavoidable is somewhat disconcerting. I wholeheartedly support technology but feel I have the right to protect myself also. Why is it that everything I post online becomes available to anyone, anywhere? Am I okay with the idea of a digital footprint? Not completely. I understand the importance of keeping records, in fact this concept has been around for as long as libraries have collected newspaper articles in a file and then later transferring them to microfiche but it was different then. If someone were looking for information on an individual years ago, they would have to spend hours searching through fuzzy, difficult to read microfiche. Now, all it takes is a low-level investigation beginning with ones name. It is no wonder that identity theft has become frequent.
I began my search by using Google and immediately noticed a large number of obituaries. I have known for some time that my last name is actually very common worldwide but I was surprised at the number of people with the same first name. As I was scrolling through page after page, it was interesting to find that the only information associated with strictly my first and last name was because of the M.E.T. program at BSU. In that regard I am thankful my digital footprint is relatively small although much larger than it had been several years ago. This changed however when I added something more personal to the search. I found a quote I had made to a reporter when I was overseas and a diocesan handbook also referred to me. I was surprised that my school webpage did not show up.
Curious, I decided to use Bing for my next search engine. The first thing I noticed was that my personal photo did not show up however an image of a slide presentation I submitted in EdTech 501 did. Similarly to Google, the remainder of my digital footprint was connected to the M.E.T. program, which is somewhat reassuring.
Overall, I suppose I have been relatively successful in keeping my digital footprint small. After completing this module, I plan on being even more vigilant while continuing to actively use technology.