I have been starting at this sentence since Thursday: “After last week’s class, I was left with mixed feelings.” I know what I want to say, but I’m not sure how to express it.
When I signed up for this class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that learning and collaborating online would be involved. I have always had mixed feelings about my online identity. Given the warnings we have been sent by our board about Facebook and other online social media, I have always been careful of what I post online. I have been careful to keep my Twitter account as professional as possible and to keep things generally pretty positive.
Since starting this class, I have started to “open up” a little more online. I have posted about my sick leave, I have commented on some posts that may be considered “controversial” and I have begun to create and collaborate with other educators. I connect informally with 500+ educators daily and directly with 50-100 on a regular basis. I have involved my class in a few collaborative projects with classes across the country in the last few years. I keep two blogs, one professional, one as a student. This is the second year that my students have been blogging. I have created a wikispace and blog of my parents. I even took the plunge and agreed to lead a talk for our next class (which is very much out of my comfort zone!) I truly thought that I had started to create an online presence for myself; a professional identity that I could be proud of (in my small little world).
However, during class last week, Dean Shareski asked us to search ourselves on three different websites: Google, Spezify, and Persona MIT. Using all three of these searches and only my name, I found only one hit that was about me within the first few pages.
There are apparently a lot more popular Jamie Forrest’s than I. I have since tried many variations of my name. The only way I can find ANYTHING about myself on Google (the main go-to site for searches) is to quote my name and add my city. These are the top five entries:
This brings me back to the sentence I’ve been staring at since Thursday… mixed feelings. The “old” part of me is happy about being invisible. I now know that my employer, my parents, my students and their parents and others cannot find anything about me that puts into question my standing as a positive role model in my community. However, neither can they find anything about me to reinforce this either.
Dean posted this slide during his talk on Tuesday:
He also talked about the difference between contribution and creation. If you look at all five of the hits about me, they are all contributions I have made on someone else’s creations. Nowhere did I find mention of either of my blogs, my class wiki, or my students’ blogs… None of my “creations” appeared. This left me feeling actually a little sad…
So, my question to all of you is: what are your suggestions for getting your creations out there in a positive and controlled way?