Prompt: Tell us about something you want to learn in this class. It can be a specific concept, a skill, a broad concept, a philosophy…whatever you choose, tell us a little about what you already know and share some links to illustrate what you are talking about.
Coming in to this course, the one big specific thing I wanted to learn was how to help others (adults) work through their fears and apprehensions about having an online presence and engaging with others online (or being a digital citizen or however you want to phrase it). In 2014, I did a presentation at the Alaska Library Association Conference on Developing and Managing Your Web Presence (see handout). Despite being careful with the session description and clearly stating at the start of the session that this wasn’t a session on privacy concerns, and that the assumption was that if you were attending, you either wanted a web presence or were open to it, there were several vocal people there that thought posting online was a terrible idea. It really prevented those who wanted to know more from getting what they came for. I feel like more people left with idea that they shouldn’t develop their web presence than the other way around. I know and work with people who share the viewpoint that sharing about oneself is too risky and/or bad. So what can we say to these people? What are they really afraid of? How founded are their fears?
I understand the benefit of having a web presence* and engaging with others online** but sharing these points, as I discovered in that session, is woefully inadequate.
* Why develop your web presence? Because people (employers, dates, and others) will Google you and there are probably things you want them to find. Because many employers want you to provide a portfolio of our work.Because people can find you serendipitously, including employers who might want to recruit you or people who want to partner with you on research.
** Why engage with others online? Maybe you’re lonely! Kidding. I mean, that’s cool too… but I am thinking more along the lines of developing a personal learning network (PLN) that helps you develop professionally and get things done. Because you will develop a network of people to ask when you have questions (including personal ones like, does anyone know of a great shoe repair place?) or need help. Because you can stay better connected to people you meet, especially those who are far away or who you rarely see (such as that great connection you made at that conference in California).