From the Frontiers of Digital Leadership

Our Summer Learning Challenge this week was to explore ways that we could become digital leaders, moving from the simple digital citizen. This post explores the first part of the challenge.

The first part of the challenge asked us to predict the outcomes of Googling ourselves. Then, to do it, and then essentially to reflect on these predictions and outcomes.

I’ve heard about people doing this, and I’ve never done it primarily because I don’t see myself as all that interesting. I know the stuff that I do, and that’s good enough. Yet, when I considered doing it, my first reaction was to feel fear. What would I find? Would there be anything embarrassing? What would I do if such a thing came to light?

It’s important to note that, most of the time,  I use my active imagination not for creative  ventures, but instead to let my anxiety and paranoia get the best of my heart rate and blood pressure.

Predictions for what Google would reveal about me: my races, my blog, my social media presence on Twitter, Facebook. Maybe LinkedIn (but I haven’t updated that profile in five years). I also figured there would be pictures from the newspaper of family members who have recently died.

Here’s what I saw:

Screenshot 2016-07-25 at 4.37.44 PM

So, yep, there were the profile pics from my Twitter and blog, a picture of my daughter that float around social media, the pictures that I figured would be there of my mom and grandfather who died in the past year.

There’s a picture I put up on Twitter from several years ago after a frost run in Mendon Ponds park and the header image of my blog from the top of the gorge in Robert Tremain State Park.

Then, I also had a laugh. There was a picture of my builidng principal, Vern Tenney, and our out-going Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Julie Winston. My good friend Tony’s profile picture is there. Anyone who Googled me, and saw them…well, that would be a Freaky Friday.

Beyond that, there were a bunch of images of people I don’t know, have never seen and could only guess at how they were linked with me.

My other accounts came up: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress. I try to keep my facebook locked-down, but everything else is the way it should be. Because most of the races I run are catalogued in, I could see those results listed there. Also, because I’m a public employee, the link to finding my salary is given there too.

I liken the experience of Googling the self to getting a credit report or checking bank accounts for signs of fraud and hacking. It’s a great way to take stock of what you look like to pretty much anyone else in the world who may care to take note. It’s a reminder that your presence is there, that it can be accessed, taken and used in the broadest meanings of those words. There are media outlets and creations, such as this blog and my Twitter feed, where I work to be a responsible part of a conversations which are important to my life. It’s also a reminder, that through my job as a teacher, I’m part of conversations whether I want to be or not.