Monday, 10 May 2010

WEB101 - Learning Portfolio, Week 10 - Your Digital Shadow

Well, this got me a little confused at first. Internet Footprint... Digital Shadow... I thought they were two different names for the same thing. Apparently not. This will teach me to get behind and then do 2 weeks worth of (similar) work in the same week.

Now that I've caught up... your Internet Footprint is the things you purposefully put onto the Internet about yourself, while your Digital Shadow is the, if you like, "unauthorised" stuff that is put there by others. So probably my Week 9 description of my initiation into Online Paranoia would have been better suited to this post than the last one! Oh well... :> Both of them together make up your Web Presence.

Using a couple of different search engines to check my Digital Shadow, I was happy to see that there's really only one thing there that I didn't put there - a video clip of a TV segment I did for my ex-business a couple of years ago. I do have a Google Alert setup on my name so I don't get too many surprises, but it was good to confirm it. The main links that came up were my LinkedIn profile, Twitter and a link to my Facebook profile, all of which I setup myself, and a link to the aforementioned video, and I'm OK with all of that. There's another person with my name in Ireland who's some kind of Solaris programmer so a lot of the stuff that comes up is her, and she doesn't seem to do much that might somehow reflect badly on me. Overall I'm pretty happy with what I've got online and more importantly, with what I haven't got. :>

The part of this week's lecture that really got me thinking was the concept that more privacy equals less reputation - so if somebody else decides to post something false about you online, and you have no web presence at all, then this is the only thing that people will read about you online and you will therefore likely be judged by others based on a falsehood. Talk about a rock and a hard place! Initially I felt quite torn about this. I've spent the best part of 15 years masking my surname, using 2 or 3 different nicknames depending on what I do where, hiding my IP address in a variety of ways and generally doing my best to stay as anonymous as possible, all the while being actually quite involved in various online things. This all got me thinking back and wondering if I should have done anything different...

But the more I think about it, the more I realise I AM happy with what I've done and not done. For example, in my earlier days I spent far too much time on IRC, on a particular network using a particular nickname and cultivating a particular image, purely for my own amusement (and that of some of my friends who I knew IRL as well). I was quite well known for being sometimes witty, sometimes mean, sometimes crude and sometimes genuinely funny - and some of those things I wouldn't say I'm really like IRL at all. What it mostly wasn't was professional, and now that I'm approaching 40 and I have 2 young kids of my own, I'm fairly happy that none of it is in the public domain and that my kids will probably struggle to find any of it!
So for now I'm OK with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and a couple of other things. But I've also recently registered a personalised domain name, just in case I get comfortable enough to want to build my web presence properly in the future. :>
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