Designing Your Digital Stamp: Resources for Higher Ed Students, Educators & Future Employers

I have the immense privilege of serving alongside some incredibly talented individuals on the ACPA Digital Task Force.  I wanted to share a recent post by a member of my subgroup, Jason Meriwether, of the “Informed and Responsible Engagement” team.  Our goal is to develop resources for both students and educators on how to promote positive, productive and healthy engagement online.  The following post by Jason talks about student’s digital stamp, or self-presentation online, and how educators might help students navigate this.  The original is posted here.

by Jason L. Meriwether 

Last week, Indiana University Southeast hosted speaker and social media strategist Courtney O’Connell to discuss the Erik Qualman book “What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube.”  In addition to my pride point that our institution is the first college to use this dynamic work as an E-book for first-year students, I was fortunate enough to attend the event with sincere curiosity about the student perspective of social media.  In particular, considering my service to the ACPA Digital Task Force, I was very interested in how this presentation would tie into the “Informed and Responsible Engagement with Social Technology” Sub-Committee work.  As Paul BrownLaura PasquiniErik Qualman and I navigate discussions around social media responsibility and digital education for students and educators in higher education, I was confident this session would have something to offer our project developments.

One of Courtney’s early probing questions asked students and faculty “What would your digital stamp optimally look like in 100 years?”

  • One first-year student wanted people to google her and find inspiration and ideas by viewing her graphic design work.  She also stated that she is inspired by graphic design ideas she finds online, and wants her presence to be a resource for others like her who seek inspiration through digital perusal;
  • Another freshman expressed that her most desirable digital stamp would be something that shows people that she is helping those who struggle with eating disorders. She also expressed hope that her presence online would be positive and wouldn’t damage her ability to get a job or prevent her for helping the population she is most concerned about serving; and
  • A third first-time student noted that her digital stamp of the future would show that she fulfilled the dream of being the first in her family to earn a degree in psychology, with which she could help people. Notably, this student expressed concern that anyone would find a negative impression of her online, and that she wanted employers, friends, and potential colleagues to only capture positive information through her digital presence.

These three unique student outlooks each speak to how important it is that our Digital Task Force sub-group help students with similar perspectives, who want to amplify their online presence but are concerned that their digital behavior, and potential mistakes, could undermine future goals.  Since each of these students shared comments related to professional and career engagement, I found their queries fit neatly into our sub-group’s focus.  Specifically, we could assuage student concerns by achieving our goal of providing resources for educators who are preparing our students for the world of careers and the workforce.

iStock_000002366680Large-e1411133139701Here are a few great posts and articles we have found in our initial subcommittee research that can help students:

Each of these resources are great for employers who are interested in learning how social media shapes candidate job searches.  Equally, this information can be very useful to students preparing to enter the workforce.  As our sub-committee moves forward, we must continually consider the type of questions that students will have in mind as they navigate their respective paths to achieve their life goals.  However, our work must also provide a healthy dose of reality, thoughtfulness, caution and responsibility related to social media engagement at the forefront of every answer they find.

What questions do your students have around social media, career planning, and their own personal/professional development?

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