Screenshot of a tweet by a Brett Kavanagh tweeting "This is a terrible time to be named Brett Kavanagh". Someone by the name Mike Pence replied "welcome to the club brother"

The above post exhibits the difference between web presence and digital footprint. Not trying to engage in a political debate, but it shows the power of our name as our identity and how it affects portrayal of all of those under that name on the web. I am lucky enough that there is another Nina Vizcarrondo that is very smart and talented as a Harvard graduate and a prominent filmmaker. But what if she were a criminal and that was the first thing a potential employer saw when searching my name? Web presence of your identity can easily be controlled by another source, other than your social media site (SMS) or email. For example, an article including your name or even in a picture with someone that they posted and you didn't think was that important is included in your web presence.

One of the "Four Reasons to Care" was to protect your reputation. It is hard to protect your reputation when someone by your same identity might be a criminal. Your digital footprint has more of a commercial value (Internet Society) because it traces how we, individually, use the internet. A way to control our digital footprint is to have our own domain as Schawbel suggested. However, I disagree it HAS to be first and last name to maintain professionalism. That could be difficult for people with really long last names (like me) to have people miss a letter or even for people with common names whose domains might be taken already. I think domain creativity is tested and can bring out uniqueness in a business card. Schawbel talks about the importance of passion himself so why can't our domain reflect that? For example, my Twitter handle is @LaFoodist, a mix between Spanish and English reflects what I am passionate about. This is where I maintained communication with a lot of people in the food industry. So switching into the education field and using my Twitter for school posts have put my compartmentalization, separation of identities (Williams) to test. The article "Who is the virtual you" mainly talks about personal and professional identity management on SMS. However, it fails to mention the academic identity. A lot of people work and go to school for a different degree or field. How do you control privacy of school posts without affecting the current work or career field, as schools integrate SMS more and more in curriculums?

These courses have helped me think about my identity on SMS and to that effect, last semester I deactivated my Facebook account. Overthinking about the cons Williams mentioned of SMS enabling the possibility of identity theft, online stalking and abuse of personal info I thought this was the best choice at the moment.

The only viable option is simply not participate in social networking, although that approach will still leave data residing in organizational online databases available and vulnerable (Williams, Who is the virtual you)

I thought by deleted FB I had enough control over my information. Facebook categorizes us all politically and even categorizes us based on our location. According to FB (reactivated to test) I am an expat and very liberal. Using my location they categorize me as a frequent visitor to airports and universities. Thanks to the reading I was able to delete Tweeting with location. I get too paranoid for all this tracking. My friend showed me Snapchat has a map feature now where you can see nearby Snaps around you. That is just too much for me and I am thankful I deleted my Snapchat too. The following are approaches to what to post on your SMS that I found interesting and organized into a table:


table of social media post methods, description, pros and cons. Categories are: "open, audience, content, custom"
*Information retrieved from Seaman and Tinti-Kane report.

The approach from the above table I have mainly used in my posts is "content". I accept friend requests because since Sitka is so small, it is very awkward to run into people who friend requested you but you have yet to accept. For example, my previous landlord requested me and then she later became my supervisor for my Sitka School District job. Denying her request would have made for an awkward work environment.

I realize it's not all FB that has privacy risks. Even Google doc has security risks, according to Williams. It makes sense because when Googling images under my name, images I have put on Google docs are available separately. Even images I have on practice domains I have are available separately.

As we become educators online that integrate SMS into curriculums we will probably encounter moments where we don't know if to report a student post or moments where we question what we can post. Below is a graphic from Pearson Learning Solutions that highlight concerns of educators integrating SMS into their curriculums:

Graph showing results from 2013 poll on barriers to faculty use of social media

However, there is no doubt about how SMS have improved communication with students, which can be difficult for distance courses.

2013 Pie graph "The impact that digital communication has had on your communication with students"

The third site I added to Raindrop talks about what you can and can't report on your students SMS posts.



According to Abud Jr., you can only report a student post if it:

  • breaches school policy
  • leads to or creates substantial disruption to the educational process
  • results in bullying toward students or staff
  • threatens school violence

Last semester there was a student in my cohort that was very disrespectful towards the professor in their posts and I was wondering how the school handles that. The professor handled it very professionally, but I wondered if it was possible to drop the student for those actions. I think what is legal to do can be very dangerous for the school. For example, since the disrespectful posts were in the students own domain and the student were to sue and later delete his posts, how can it be proof of what he said? Digital footprint is easily controlled on one owns domain.

A good example on how to teach students the importance of web presence is to have a project in the beginning of the class where each student takes a role of an employer and is assigned another student in the class. By only using the Internet as a researching tool, the student has to decide if they will hire or not hire that classmate. That will get students to think of distinguishing their personal and professional online presence and the value of controlling one owns web information that one can.

Abu, G. (2018, Mar 19). Can schools discipline students for social media use outside of school? Education Week Teacher.
[Internet Society]. (2016, Jan 12). Four reasons to care about your digital footprint.  [Video File, 8:00].
Schawbel, D. (2011, Feb 21). Five reasons why your online presence will replace your resume in 10 years.
Seaman, J. & Tinti-Kane, H. (2014, May 3). Social media for teaching and learning. Pearson Learning Solutions: Boston, MA.
Sillier-Malaterre, A. & Rothbard, N. (2015, Mar 26). How to separate the personal and professional on social media. Harvard Business Review.
Williams, L. Y. (2012). Who is the 'virtual' you and do you know who's watching you? In Social Media for Academics (pp. 175-192).

9 thoughts on “Web Presence”

  1. Your piece is very well-written and thoughtful; it also looks nice and is very nicely organized.

    It’s a shame we have to be so paranoid. It seems like with how advanced technology is, that we should be able to better control our own web presence. Personally, I am probably not paranoid enough. As I mention in my post, my life is an open book so I am very careful about my interactions. I am too social to go without Facebook, but I never post, share, tweet, retweet, or like political posts. I share about my life (school, dogs, and grandkids), my meals, and my business. The professionalism aspect is also a given, especially in a small town.

  2. I really enjoyed your use of duplicate names in introducing the idea of web presence. My daughter shares her name with a well known British author. When I used my husband’s name in a lesson on internet investigation, I have to preface the assignment with a disclaim that my husband is not a professional football player or a prominent musician in Australia.

    I also really liked your idea to teach students the importance of web presence. All too often I have seen a person’s web presence used out of context with ulterior motives (think of a contentious child custody battle). It’s important for students to know what information is contained in their web presence as well as the skill to critically view the value of they are adding to that presence.

    I agree with Kat that I am too social to not use social media. But what I do post is careful, thought out and bland. Where I stand politically is between me and the ballot box–not the public. The issues I support in my private life should not affect my employer’s perception of me as an educator. I applaud you for disconnecting from social media. I don’t think I could do that.

    1. Deana, thank you for your feedback. I think your example as a paralegal finding the incriminating car accident post is such a great example of digital footprint. And I think the way you explain it to your students about “if you don’t want your neighbor knowing” is needed to teach students about digital footprint nowadays lol.
      And Im not going to lie but I reactivated it. Just being super cautious.

  3. Nina, I’m glad to see you gravitate toward the compartmentalization of identities. I don’t think using full names is important. Having a public profile or persona can still be based on some other form of identity. It’s healthy to separate the personal and professional, and there are many ways to do this. One little tip that just came to mind is the use of email aliases. UA allows users to have email aliases. So my official address is but I also have s.holland and sean.holland. All of my business cards use sean.holland, so when I get an email addressed to that address, I have a pretty good idea how that person found me. You can also append any phrase to the username of a Gmail address using the + symbol as a way of tracking how your address is used. For example, if your email address is, you could write down if you were say, signing up for credit card applications with that address. You’d then also be able to see how that email address was sold and traded to other third parties. Not completely in the realm of digital presence, but still useful!

  4. I like how you began this post with that particular political Twitter screenshot. It captured me right away and it allowed you to make a valid point about the fragility of our digital footprint.

    One key piece of this post that is not clear is the definition of SMS. Does this stand for Short Messaging Service? If so, what does that mean? I know what it means but other readers might wonder. It’s such a key acronym in this post that its definition deserves attention.

  5. Hey Nina,
    I really liked your integration of graphics and different images into your post. I thought your first example of using the tweet to help explain web presence was a perfect example. When I was reading your post, I honestly wasn’t 100% sure what SMS stood for or represented? I am also wondering if you have ever tried teaching web presence using the activity you gave at the bottom of the post? It sounds like a great idea; however, I am curious as to how it would actually work in the classroom. I teach high schoolers so I am concerned with what the students would find posted on each others web pages. Didn’t spot any typos or mechanical areas in your post. Stylistically, I am wondering about the bullet points in the bottom post. Is there a way to include them under the T? Or separate them from that section? Other than that, I really enjoyed your post and perspective for web presence!

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