After looking at http://mcclurken.org/, http://hirehassan.com/, and http://jessicareingold.com/ (http://caitlinpringlemurphy.com/ was not working), as well as Footprints in the Digital Age (Will Richardson), Personal branding in the age of Google (Seth Godin), and Digital Tattoo, five lessons relating to digital identity emerged:
1. Having a digital identity is almost a necessity. With so much networking (both for recreation and job searching) going on, it can put you at a disadvantage if you do not have a sufficient online presence. Disadvantages can include a wide range of things, such as not being up-to-date with news stories or with friends, but also not being found if a potential employer is searching for people like you online.
2. Your digital identity should have an air of professionalism. On any website or social media account, the inclusion of professional achievements and affiliations looks impressive and adds credibility to you. This credibility is further enhanced by the elimination of personal details. How you present yourself online should be welcoming, but not to the point that you share information that is irrelevant.
3. The way you present yourself online should be organized and clear, as visitors to your website as well as social media and networking accounts are likely to associate this with strong communication skills, which are much sought after by employers. Showing that you have a purpose for being online (perhaps networking to find a job) and organizing yourself to achieve that objective also shows professionalism (as mentioned in lesson #1) and will work in your favor.
4. Creating a digital identity is something that should be taught to all. As the new literacy of networking becomes more prevalent, it becomes increasingly important to educate online users about the advantages and disadvantages their digital identity can create for them. There is a fine balance between using the digital world to network and in using it for recreation. This becomes especially important when it comes time to find a job. If a potential employer sees you doing something idiotic online this could hurt you tremendously.
5. Although the formation of a digital identity should be taught and guided, it is the responsibility of each individual person to determine how he or she will present himself or herself online and that person ultimately will have to answer for a poorly presented image. This tremendous responsibility that accompanies the formation of a digital identity gives more significance to education about this topic.