Students spend so much time with their teachers that it’s no wonder that they might be interested in learning more about us. We shouldn’t be surprised when students and parents look us up online or even try adding us to their online social networks.
Because of this we need to ensure that our posts, pins, and pictures do not undermine our high standing or professional integrity.
One way to be proactive about managing our online reputation is to have a look at the privacy settings on our social networking accounts.
It’s important to realise that the term privacy can be misleading when it comes to social networks. Privacy settings allow us to restrict who can see content we post. However, ultimately these measures aren’t completely water tight. You should consider social networks as public forums.
Every time you come across the word privacy – think ‘sharing’, as rather than protect our privacy these settings give us some control over who we share content with.
Whether a social network is open or closed gives a good indication of the default privacy settings of the service. These are the sharing settings that are automatically assigned to your account when you first sign up.
If the social network is open then the content you post is available for anyone to see, unless you change the settings.
With closed social networks, content is shared with only particular friends, by default. However, other activity may still be public by default.
For teachers it’s important to:
- Take the time to get to know and adjust default privacy settings
- Know who can see the content you share
- Never assume that content you share online is private. It is so easy to copy digital content that once you post content online you lose control of who sees that content and how it is used
Who can find you?
Often what we share online is seen by very few people and so could almost be considered private. However, search engines increase the number of people who see content.
Much of what we share on social networking services is actually indexed by default. This means that when people search for us through a search engine, such as Google, they’ll find links to our various online posts and profiles.
Prevent unwanted attention
To protect your privacy and prevent unwanted attention it is a good idea to restrict who can find your profiles. Some social networks will give you the option to avoid being listed by search engines.
Advice for teachers on avoiding being found online
To avoid unwanted online attention:
- Change the settings so that your profiles are not listed by search engines
- Be careful when using your real name online as this will make you much easier to find. Make sure you’d be happy for anyone to see content that appears linked to your name
- Read the terms and conditions of all apps you use to prevent the unwanted sharing of your information
Facebook Tips for Teachers
If you’re a fan of Facebook, one thing you’ll want to do is check your settings. Our guide for teachers covers everything you need to know about protecting your privacy on the popular social media site: www.webwise.ie/facebook-for-teachers/
Social Media and Webwise Teachers (online course)
For an overview of how to manage your professional reputation and that of your school when using social media, together with valuable advice for those engaging in social media for personal as well as professional use, why not consider doing our short online course? Click here for a course description. Course delivery dates and enrolment information is available via TeacherCPD.ie.