If you’re not blogging in this day and age, are you at a disadvantage?
I can see a day in the not too distant future (if it’s not already here) where your “digital footprint” will carry far more weight than anything you might include in a resume or CV.
It’s perhaps not so relevant (yet) in the public education sector where the criteria for employment is not always based solely on a meritocracy, but in the independent sector there is a definite awareness of an individual’s digital footprint as a way to gauge their involvement, passion, engagement and understanding of their chosen field.
It may not yet be happening in the public sector because of unionisation and the existing promotional structures in place, but in the outside world where people are employed, promoted and recognised by their actual contributions and not just by the amount of time they have been in a given role, the notion of knowing about an individual because of the trail of ideas they leave behind them in their online networks will play a larger and larger role.
I’m certain that almost EVERY employer these days has Googled you before they call you for an interview. Many people in the private sector (and I’m not just talking about education) are being offered positions or getting headhunted because of the presence they have created in their online spaces.
Having a blog, a Twitter account, even a Facebook… these things are not just about giving you a place to talk about mundane and trivial stuff that no one else interested in… they are in fact building your “personal brand”, as the marketers would say. You can say that’s pretentious and that you want no part of it, but the fact is that the online persona and online presence you develop by creating this digital footprint is playing an increasingly important role in defining who you are (or at least who you appear to be).
Unfortunately, NOT having an online presence says a lot about you too. If I was staffing a school where a passion for education was valued, I would be very dubious about employing someone who could not show any evidence of an online presence. If I couldn’t find any record of them being part of online communities, being involved in online projects, contributing to the global conversation about education, I’d be extremely doubtful about whether they were the right people for the kind of school I wanted to staff.
This is one of the reasons why we need to not block kids from accessing network resources… The question is not whether they will have a digital footprint… they will. The question is whether it will say positive things about them or whether it will portray them in a negative way. We have a unique opportunity to provide our students with a digital footprint that says wonderful things about who they are, what they can do and where their passions lie, but unless we actively teach them how to make it positive it may not be the case.
And if we don’t actively understand and engage with that process ourselves, we will most likely do a pretty ordinary job of helping our students do it right.