My name is very uncommon. I only share my name with a cousin from the USA who often goes by Katie McKelliget, rather than Kate McKelliget. There are two consequences to this fact. Firstly, it is easy for anybody to find me via Google. Secondly, every aspect of my public Internet interactions can be found online. For this reason, I have always taken much care and time in maintaining my digital footprint, which Alner (2014) describes as the
‘… trail of data left behind by all users on digital and social media …’
I invest time into my digital footprint so that people can only find things about me that I want them to find about me and so that my Google search may be a clear as possible so that I may develop a public professional identity as of this semester.
To begin with, my social media pages are under abbreviated versions of my name or quirky names and, where possible, I have ensured that they are not Google searchable. Therefore, my social media pages are not retrieved by Google. Then, approximately every six months, I Google my name to see what the search retrieves. If I am happy with a result, I will leave it, if I am not happy with a result (usually for the fact that it is too private) I will ensure that it is erased. Erasing a section in your digital footprint can be as easy as deleting your original post to calling customer services and asking for a comment to be removed from their website. These links usually become deadlinks until Google has cleaned them off. The problem with erasing parts of your digital footprint is that Google will always replace it with the next common result. For every time you erase something, it will be replaced with something more obscure from even further in your past as Google’s 2010 video helps to explain.
The first three results of my Google search all relate to me.
The first result is from UQ’s School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry (n.d), which was the school that I belonged to as an undergraduate. The website lists the different awards and prizes that the Classics department gives and it lists my name as the 2013 winner of the J.L. Michie Memorial Prize. This was one of my proudest achievements as an undergraduate and I’m happy for it to be displayedt. As I develop my professional online identify, I believe this result will always be an asset as it reveals my dedication to my studies.
The second result is my learning forum from the IFN614 course website (n.d). This is a course that I took last semester. Although I am proud of my work on these forums and I received a high grade for that course, these posts are from the first semester of my masters and I know some of them could be better. Sometimes I feel a little uneasy knowing that this work is out there on display since it is not perfect. However, I count it as a blessing that my name is so readily associated with library science. Within the next six months, the blog for this course will appear on Google and all future blogs will also be searchable. Eventually, a well-rounded sample of my learning and development will be accessible via Google and I hope and believe that this will compliment my future professional online identity well.
The third result is a dead link to Prezi.com. Previously, this result would have lead you to a Prezi I created in my second year of university for an anthropology course. I chose to save this presentation to my computer and delete the online version. Again, I was very proud of this presentation, it just wasn’t necessary for it to be on Google. I deleted the online version about a month ago in my latest Google purge so this result will be removed from Google by my next purge in five month’s time. Sometimes I fear that dead links may seem a little unprofessional.
At the moment I do not have a clear professional identity online. However, to this date I have striven to ensure that I do not have an unprofessional identity online. I believe my Google search is at present a blank canvas with a few preliminary sketches on it; I am a library science student who is dedicated to her studies and likes heritage. This semester I hope to develop this identity even further. I aim to have a LinkedIn account, a public ePortfolio and two student learning blogs Google searchable. Additionally, I hope to change my Twitter handle from an abbreviated version of my name to my full name so that it can be found online. My Twitter account was created for the purpose of this degree. I am scared to place my name to it at the moment because I treat my Twitter account as a learning space. I hope to be bold enough to create my account into a space that I can confidently and consistently engage with the industry.
In this course, I hope to conduct myself as a studious and supportive learner. In this way, I can be sure that I will be proud of my work and engage in a meaningful way with the other students in this course. This will require both an academic and personal demeanour. I cannot participate in non-academic discussions, as this blog will be representative of my semester two learning on Google soon. I have no choice but to construct a student identity alongside my professional identity because it is all so easily searchable on Google. I must be meticulous in creating both. I hope that when I enter the profession and have established a career, I can become more relaxed about my professional presence online. I thoroughly enjoy following the relatable online presence of some professional librarians such as Kim Tairi. However, I believe my other private accounts will always stay private.