Employability Goes Online

Just as other classmates have done this week, I too Googled myself. Logan discussed a key point that I have always thought about when thinking about doing a Google self search or Egosurfing. When he searched for himself he was able to find some information relevant to him, but when he searched other classmates he was unable to find a lot of information directly related to them. Why is this? I think that it depends on the uniqueness of the name being searched. For example, if I search myself under my maiden name Ashley Dejaegher, I find a lot of information about my hockey life. There is some information from my undergrad work but most is related to hockey (a small portion of my life). If I search myself using my current name, Ashley Murray, I have a hard time finding a lot about myself. There are some links to work I had completed last semester in EC&I 832, but not a whole lot more. There is a however lot of information about other Ashley Murrays.

It’s pretty obvious that Ashley is a very common name but I wasn’t sure just how popular it was so I decided to see if I could find out. I found a site based on the population of the United States and there are 510,770 people in the US alone with the name Ashley and it’s the 114th most popular name. I also search the last name Murray and there are 213,130 people with that last name so chances are there are quite a few people who share my name. In the United States there are fewer than 120 people with the last name Dejaegher so it is quite uncommon. Chances are if you have a more common name you may not find as much information about yourself.

Luke brings up a good point about how we can make ourselves more visible online. If we have a common name, how can we make sure that people can find our twitter pages or our blogs? I found myself wondering the same thing and basically found that it all boils down to the popularity of your blog for example. The more people you have visiting your site or twitter page, the more popular it will come which will bounce it up in Google searches. I also came across how to use a search engine optimization (SEO) to increase the visibility of your blog on search engines by using different techniques while blogging.

Photo Credit: arbyreed via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: arbyreed via Compfight cc

I am among the percent of social media users who changes their privacy settings on my accounts. My Facebook and Instagram pages have high privacy settings. The reason I have my settings this way is because I use Facebook and Instagram to connect and share with people who I have personal relationships with. My friends list on both platforms is quite small in comparison to others. On Facebook I have 201 friends of which probably 50 are family. On Instagram I have 133 followers. This is because I have chosen to keep my friends lists limited. Every so often I go back and delete people who I no longer feel a close connection to. I don’t add people easily either. I have decided to keep it limited because I don’t want everyone and anyone knowing about my personal life. I think that teachers are held to a higher standard so I tried to keep things private just in case anything that might be thought of as inappropriate pops up. But sometimes it would be nice to just be an average person too. 

Just like Vanessa I believe that online identity is only a small portion of our actual identity. Our identities are made up of so many different things and each part is as important as any other part depending on what you are doing. That being said, I don’t believe our online identity should make or break us as a person. Something we need to realize is that what happens online stays online…literally. Luke argues that it should be considered a digital tattoo as opposed to a digital footprint and I would have to agree. In order to prevent our students from an array of negative/inappropriate digital tattoos we need to work with them to create positive online images. We need students to showcase their work and demonstrate their learning so that they can create a reputation for themselves that is positive.  It should come as no surprise that employers use social media to hire people but keeping that in mind I do think that resumes should reflect your online image and vice versa. We have seen instances in the last few days where candidates running for the Saskatchewan NDP have lost their jobs because of posts. I think that in order for the NDP to maintain a positive reputation they had no choice but to eliminate those candidates, but in the case of a person going to a job interview I do think that their online identity can be brought up and questioned before making a final decision. Perhaps it was something that happened years ago when the candidate was young and immature.

I think it’s important to keep an eye out on Google and search yourself every now and then to see what comes up. Maybe you’ll notice more posts showing up in Google as your blog becomes more popular. If you’re worried about how your online reputation can hurt your job hunt check out these tips.


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