When you google “Sarah Munro,” the first 3 things that pop up, are:
- Sarah Munro: A Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies & Public Scholar from BC
- Sarah Munro: A Director at a Contemporary Art Gallery in England
- Sarah Munro: A Famous Singer-Songwriter in the UK
Shockingly- none of these individuals are me. While we do have the same name in common, what we do not have in common is a well established digital footprint.
I will tell you that I stopped looking for myself on the search results after scrolling through page 10 of google. While I was searching, I found Sarah Munro: the lawyer, the established artist, the archaeologist, the bio engineer; the list goes on and on.
Apparently I am a woman of many talents.
This really hit home for me in regards to what my digital identity actually looks like. While I have only been present online via a few social media platforms (which I primarily used for lurking), I’ll admit I was actually shocked that even my Facebook didn’t make the top 10 pages of my name search. At the same time, I shouldn’t be too surprised. Before this class, I believed the best practice for educators was to make themselves invisible online, and I prided myself on keeping my identity to an absolute minimum. I thought that if a parent googled my name and no embarrassing pictures or long-ago Facebook posts popped up, I was golden. However, this class has since caused me to reflect on my beliefs regarding my digital identity as an educator. Do I really want to be invisible?
“If you aren’t controlling your footprint, others are.”- Meredith Stewart
This idea is becoming more of a reality to me as I am going throughout the process of becoming a connected educator. I found this interesting article, Teachers, Take Care of Your Digital Footprint, which discussed my previous desire of invisibility, the issues with this practice, and ways to take back control of your digital identity.
Another little thing that I learned from googling myself is that when I googled “Sarah Munro- Tisdale” (my hometown) nothing popped up. However, when I googled “Sarah Munro- Regina,” my Twitter and Facebook popped up. This was something that was great for me to find out because on all of my resumes I have been handing to potential employers, I have listed Tisdale as my location- which will give them zero results if they look me up online. However, if I make the change to Regina on my resume, administrators will be directed right to my education-centered Twitter account.
Now while this search many only bring up my newly-formed Twitter account, it does provide a good insight into my views and passions regarding education. If someone was to scroll through my tweets, they could see I value inclusive education, strive to celebrate diversity, focus on fostering relationships with my students, and am developing a desire to include technology in the classroom.
I had previously believed that if nothing came up when someone googled my name, that was the best and safest thing for my career as an educator. From this class, and the articles I have read, I am coming to see the benefits of having a digital identify, and how it can be used as a positive tool instead of the opposite. I will continue to use Twitter and add to my blog to build my digital identity, as I believe building a digital identity is a process, and I am just beginning to scratch the surface.