Show me your dID!


And by dID I mean your digital identity. There was a lively conversation on Twitter tonight for #edtechchat about digital citizenship. One specific question posed has really made me reflect. Since the thought stream is more than 140 characters, a blog post reply was necessary.

Out of curiosity (and wanting to make sure I did not spread any false rumors), I googled the topic and read multiple articles to find valid resources. I wasn’t wrong about reading about this as a legal case. There are actually two different legal actions around employers asking for employee passwords for social media websites and/or requiring them to log in during an interview.

The first series of legal maneuvers are by states making the practice illegal. So far there are six states taking the side of the worker and their right to privacy.

The other legal action is being drafted by Facebook. Forcing someone to share their login goes against the user ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.’ If people thought that everything would become public, Facebook would lose even more popularity then when parents joined.

Another discovery on Google place on Mashable article on the same topic: “What to do when a potential employer asks for your Facebook password.” There are some points that I agree. You should word your refusal eloquently without it sounding like a complete negative. You should also suggest they check other social media sites.

I would expand the suggestions specifically for an education setting. There is value to a teacher who embraces social media and can model appropriate and effective interactions for students. Part of social media is managing your brand. Through social media I can clearly communicate who I am as a teacher, my pedagogy, my teaching philosophy, and my inspiration. I would encourage people to read my blog posts, follow me on Twitter, add me to a Google+ group, or view my pictures on Instagram. In fact, my brand is clearly displayed and linked together at Facebook is not part of my brand, which is why it is closed and unsearchable. Part of the fun of social media is connecting with friends. That is a private interaction.

A life lesson that students (and teachers and parents) need to know is the duality of the digital ID. There should be a separation of professional and personal social media. But for this to be successful, you have to understand the privacy settings of each website. You also most use them consistently. Twitter has always been my professional and Facebook has been my personal. On my personal social media sites, I do not hide my relationships, my religious beliefs, or my political views. These do not come up frequently, but I have the right to have views without fear of ramification. How could an employer remain unbiased and honor the nondiscrimination clause of hiring if they has had easy view of relationships, religion, etc? These are topics they are supposed to avoid during interviews. I see it as a legal thorn. If those hiring demanded to see someone’s Facebook page and did not offer that person a job, how can you show that it was not discrimination against something seen on Facebook?

I passionately believe that students need to understand the power and responsibility of having a digital identity. Students do not have a single dimension. So how can they only use social media for academic or professional reasons? Since the purpose or the excitement of social media is the social element, wouldn’t that imply with friends? Students need a teacher to model responsible social media use. The perfect example would be a teacher who has private Facebook settings that keep content hidden to an employer or an outsider.

About Lisa Butler

Middle school geography teacher, tech trainer, Flocabulary MC, Nearpod PioNear, and Edcamp Hershey Founder. I have embraced the power of purposeful technology and am creative with their application. If I am not doing something with ed or tech, I am probably reading children's books, baking with a toddler sidekick, running around, or dreaming of traveling.
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