This week in EC&I 831, we’re talking digital identity.
It’s been a while since I’ve Googled myself. Much to my relief, when I went to check myself out online again, my own domain was the top hit. I have a fairly common name, so there were some other unfortunate news stories that came up, but they were would be difficult be to confuse.
Just over 6 years ago bought myself the domain kylewebb.ca. While learning about digital identity in ECMP 355 and 455, I realized that I wanted to control my presence online, and owning these spaces give me full control. If you go to kylewebb.ca today, you’ll see it’s a nice landing page that links you to all the other spaces I currently occupy online (Twitter, YouTube, Blog, etc.). Additionally, I recently changed hosting companies and got a free domain out of the mix, so I also added kwbb.ca to my domain collection (I use it as my own URL shortener using a tool called YOURLs). This was not something that was necessary, but it’s neat to completely control even your links in this way.
With the recent Jeb Bush and Donald Trump domain situation, I looked deeper into domains. You can even purchase a .sucks domain. I could purchase kylewebb.sucks (thankfully, no one has spent the money to do this!). Actually, I could also buy kylewebb.rocks. It turns out that recently, there has been an opening up of a huge amount of other types of domains you can buy.
I could go on all day about domains, but that’s not what this post is about. Back to digital identity.
Prior to making the move back to Canada, I needed to find a teaching position. In an attempt to be different and share myself a unique way, I threw together this online resume – which is still live and I update it once in a while when I have some time to kill. Looking at it now, I realize it’s probably due for an update and definitely a new picture, this one is 2 years old now.
My online presence has been almost entirely professional in recent years. Heck, my only Facebook posts in recent years (yes, years) have either been about moving or an article that I felt needed to be shared with those people I haven’t talked to face-to-face in years (that’s what Facebook is for, isn’t it?). Although I manage the spaces I share online, I haven’t been as concerned about my digital identity, because I’ve been sharing myself in a professional way for years, since the beginning of my teaching career. Like many of the students I teach, the more personal aspects of my life have switched to smaller, more intimate spaces.
If I hadn’t set up these spaces to act the way I want, the thought of my students, parents of my students, or colleagues stumbling across me online would be horrifying. But, quite regularly, I have students come up to me and tell me that “they found my website”. Instead of panic, I can ask them what they think about it. Often their feedback is quite interesting and we’re able to have a conversation about why I have these spaces. Ultimately, most of these conversations end in the students asking about how to make their own. Even though most of my students do have some sort of online presence, getting them to think about how to own it and make it a positive space that reflects who they want to be online can only be a good thing.
There is true value in owning the spaces you operate online. Although it might take a little time set up, there’s something to be said about controlling your own identity. Plus, as a teacher, modelling positive digital identity for students is a bonus and lesson that will certainly serve them well as they grow up.