Digital Stamps/footprints…. Call it what you want, what mark will you leave?


Last week I signed my class up to participate in the 2015 Online Anti-bullying form. Upon reviewing the teacher facilitation guide I came across an excellent video clip titled Digital Dossier. Your digital dossier is all the information that is created about you over your life. This starts at birth and continues even after you die. Then earlier this week, Barbara DeWitt, recently shared a TED talk titled Digital Footprints by Michelle Clark. In this video she talks about responsible use of the internet and the importance of building genuine relationships. Sometimes educators find it difficult to connect with youth when talking about Social Media because sometimes they are not as heavily involved in the pressures that come with social media. Likewise, sometimes youth think that their teachers just don’t understand.  Clark uses poetry to assist her in making connections with youth. She shares examples of when we make our lives public we may face consequences in the future. She discussed how sometimes people feel they are exercising their right to self expression. However, later this can come back to haunt us. One example she shared was  of a young man who had been accepted to his dream university only to have the acceptance rescinded due to a post he had made on facebook. Rather than be devastated by the consequences of our online actions Clark offers the following suggestions:

  • Slow down, take time to think before you post
  • She asks you to consider, “How does this instant information impact our hopes and dreams?”
  • Ask yourself: “How could this information be interpreted? or released?”

She closes by reminding us that digital decisions can last a life time. There is no Ctrl+Z once you have made something available online. This week I explored author, Erik Qualman’s TED talk My Digital Stamp. In his talk, he poses the question: “How are people going to remember you?” He explains that each of us now has the opportunity through social media to become a mini-celebrity. We do this through our digital stamp. Qualman outlines two ways to contribute to our digital stamp:

  1. Digital footprints-  These are things you post yourself. For example, videos you upload, things you tweet, fb statuses you post.
  2. Digital Shadows- These are the things OTHERS post about you. This could be of your online OR offline activity. For example, the old saying, What happens in Vegas…….. could now end up on YouTube.

Erik Qualman outlines 5 habits of people who demonstrate leadership online (STAMP):

S- Simple- Not everything we do we need to post.

T- True- Do  a vanity search. Envision your funeral. What would you want people to see?

A- Act- Most of the things we do online are throughput (tweets, answering emails, nothing to show for it).

– Focus on output: “What are you creating?”

M- Map – Have a destination in mind but allow your path to have some flexibility.

P- People- Surround yourself with the right people

Each one of us will take a different path. Qualman talks about being “flawsome”. This means that through our flaws we can showcase how awesome we are. However, from previous class discussions we have explored that true forgiveness is not common. Lastly, Qualman reminds us that the internet is a valuable tool. We need to make intelligent choices and sensor what we enter on the keyboard. How will you leave your best stamp? Reflect on Erik’s questions. Rather than seeking likes or follows, consider: How can I create something of value to others? How can I “Post it foraward”? What can I do for others? When we create genuine posts, the likes and follows will come.