A recent article by Keegan Korf, Embracing Our Digital Footprints and Guiding Students to Curate and Reshape Their Own, re-ignited a conversation on digital citizenship resources for adults. Until now, our focus has been predominately on students. While we provide a wide range of resources for teachers and parents to use with their students and their children, Keegan’s infographic (below) serves as a timely reminder that we should also be providing resources to help adults be aware of the need to be role models and to build and maintain positive digital footprints.

Digital Footprints Infographic

It’s not difficult to find excellent resources for students, such as Netsmartz’ Two Kinds of Stupid video, on how quickly your online reputation can destroy future job opportunities, scholarship options, and more. We also appreciate 18-year old Abba’s Common Sense Media video – Pride in Your Digital Footprint for its proactive tips on maintaining and building a positive digital presence. We also recommend reading Common Sense Media’s article: How Colleges Use Kids’ Social Media Feeds.

But what about digital footprint resources for adults? We’re wondering how many talented college graduates applying today for positions across the nation will not even make it to the first interview due to something they’ve posted on social media. TED Talks such as Megan’s Kid, You Posted What?! could help “xennials” or anyone just entering the job market to stop and think before posting, retweeting, etc.

From ADL’s Social Media Armor: Are You Really What You Post?, we’ve gleaned a great set of questions to guide self-reflection when looking through and curating your own social media posts.

  • What type of pictures are you posting?
  • What language, emojis and hashtags are you using?
  • How are you posing? Who are you taking pictures of? What are you taking pictures of?
  • What type of articles, videos and posts are you sharing?
  • What type of filters and edits are you using?
  • What type of posts do you respond to and how do you respond?
  • If you are posting with other people, what is your relationship to them?
  • Is your communication over social media similar to how you communicate in person?

We all need occasional reminders that our photos, posts, retweets and comments (even private ones) leave a digital trail.  Periodically checking the default privacy settings on your social media accounts is important, as privacy policies often change.

And one final thought, your digital trail goes well beyond what you’ve posted on social media. As you can see from this post and video (below) from NPR, with increased digital access comes a substantial decline in all aspects of your “perceived” privacy.

Just as we continue to add resources for protecting students online, we will continue to seek and share digital citizenship resources geared towards adults. We welcome any digital citizenship resources you might recommend for adults. To share, please leave a comment below.