23 Things: Thing 3 or why I am conflicted about digital footprints…

Thing 3 is all about your Digital Footprint …. I don’t often google myself but when I do, I do so with some trepidation. Thankfully if you google lorna m campbell you get a fairly innocuous footprint.  The top six hits are:

  1. My blog. Rather annoyingly it’s my old blog on wordpress.com, rather than my new blog on Reclaim Hosting.
  2. My twitter account.
  3. My author bio on the University of Edinburgh’s Teaching Matter’s website.
  4. Aggregated blog posts on Open.Ed.
  5. My profile on the Cetis website.
  6. The Amazon page for a book I’ve just written: Hornblower’s Historical Shipmates: The Young Gentlemen of Pellew’s Indefatigable.  Blatant plug.

And if you look for images you’ll mostly find me, or people I’ve worked with, or blogged about.


It’s all very professional as I’m well aware of the idea of digital footprints and the necessity of not letting the streams cross.  Having said that, I am also rather conflicted about the whole concept of the digital footprint.  I do allow a lot of my personal identity to bleed into my professional digital footprint as I see this as being an integral part of being an open education practitioner.  However I also actively curate my digital footprint, I am careful about what I post where and I have some digital channels that I choose to keep private.   But I still have very mixed feeling about this.

How much should we allow our professional identities dictate how we interact online?  At what point does curating your digital footprint become a form of self censorship? Who regulates what is deemed to be acceptable and professional behaviour in which contexts? And as our personal and professional selves increasingly bleed together online, where do the boundaries of these regulations lie?

There are some really thorny issues here.  I’m concerned that a lot of the complex issues around the control of online identity often get brushed under the carpet and I think that worries me more than having digital footprints that stray all over the internet.  I’d be very interested to know what others think about this.

2 thoughts on “23 Things: Thing 3 or why I am conflicted about digital footprints…

  1. I think a feeling of conflict is about right; it seems unlikely that following a simple set of rules will get your personas neatly separated, and the potentially dangerous stuff safely off the ‘net. Feeling that conflict seems a sign to me that I know that there is a balance to be struck between caution and openness with almost anything I post.

    In a way, this is probably just an extension of the caution we’ve exercised in conversation since forever- it’s just that the potential audience you have to take into account isn’t limited to the folk you see in front of you. And, unlike letters, a breach of the privacy of a digital medium seems more likely and is certainly enormously larger in scope. Still, it might be a matter of degree.

  2. What is concerning me at the moment is sat point does does curating your digital footprint stop being self censorship and just become censorship? Is it you employer who is suggesting that you monitor your digital footprint in this way? Does your employer have a social media policy for its staff? Does that policy cover employees personal use of social media?

    My employer has a draft social media policy that covers any private use of social media by staff that identifies the relationship I have to them. On the whole I only say good things about my employer, I think where work is great, but I am obliged by that policy to say that the views I express here in no way reflect the views of my employer.

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