Web Presence

Web Presence Definition

I am a wife, mother of 6, grandmother to 8, friend to 800+ people on FB, student/scholar, teacher, disciple, and owner of several small businesses.  With all of these different hats, my digital footprint is wide and as a result, so is my web presence.  Because I am a public high school teacher, I am always conscious of the appropriateness of my digital interactions: my posts, photos, searches…  In addition, the computer that I use is a school computer and more so the concern that it never be used for anything inappropriate (I have a teenage son).  What if a student searches me? What if a parent sees a post I made?  Besides my caution regarding my online reputation, I am also aware of the huge marketing potential of the Web for my small businesses. How easy is it to come across my Airbnb website?  Am I tagging all the very best posts, reviews, and photos?  However, until recently I have not given much thought to how even the most innocent searches could look if they turn up out of context. These footprints we leave behind us are a big part of our web presence.

The prescribed video by the Internet Society (2016), “4 Reasons to Care About Your Digital Footprint,” describes one’s digital footprint as the traces we leave behind when we use the Internet.  On her blog about digital footprints, Kristina Erickson (2018) calls them information that is passively and actively shared by you and “information that’s created through your activities and communication online” (para. 9).  In fact, in paragraph 19 of her blog, Ms. Erickson (2018) uses the term web presence in the same context as digital footprints.  Whether the two terms share a different definition appears to be a matter of opinion as they have been used interchangeably on several sites I searched.

Managing Your Public and Private Web Presence

The internet is full of advice for how to manage your business web presence.  For the most part, I do not separate my business from my personal accounts.  My life is an open book… Forbes has dozens of sites one can visit to learn how to better utilize social media for marketing, to include keeping your website current, tagging, and blogging meaningful and relevant posts.  Honestly, I lost steam on Instagram recently after a disappointment.  I went through all my photos and added a bunch of hashtags to each. My following went up by 20-30 and then subsequently nose-dived to previous lows.  I learned that the social media crowd is a fickle bunch.  I do think I could get a handle on it, but it will be a huge investment in time that I do not currently have.

Can I manage my private spaces?  From what I have read in my research over the past couple of days, apparently I am not doing a very good job and have been lucky so far.  I looked at one article about how a company called Medium uses our data from Facebook and another aboout how we have shadow contact information that is also being shared. I also Googled myself and all that comes up is my FaceBook pages and my business.  That’s all okay with me, but I am worried about what I cannot see.  As I quipped above, my life IS an open book.  I intentionally live my life this way, so that I do truly have nothing to hide.  I want to avoid all appearances of impropriety, so living my life in the open seems a good way to do that.  Except… I do wonder sometimes if my openness about my religious beliefs online might put me under a microscope with my employers, but I am careful to never bring it into my classroom.  I will be making some attempts to tweak my online presence; creating/reinforcing private spaces and strengthening security.

Kristina Erickson (2018) suggests the following steps to manage your information online:

  • Google yourself: Take inventory of what’s out there. Search for your name every few months, so you’re cognizant of the information others have access to.
  • Set up Google alerts: Hanif recommends setting up a Google alert for your name. The tool will then send you occasional alerts of every post that has your name on it.
  • Protect your personal data: Don’t disclose your personal address, phone number, passwords or bank card numbers. Consider using a nickname instead of your real name.
  • Keep login info under lock and key: Never share any of your usernames or passwords with anyone.
  • Think before you post: Never put a temporary emotion on the permanent internet. Anger is temporary; online lasts forever. Pause before you post: Think twice, post once, advises Sue Scheff, online defamation survivor and author of Shame Nation.
  • Nix the pics: Any photo you post could be dug up some day. Limit your sharing of questionable images. Fifteen minutes of humor is never worth a lifetime of potential humiliation, adds Scheff. (para. 16)

How to Address the Topic of Web Presence with High School Students

Teaching students about their web presence has been extraordinarily overlooked in all of the places where I have taught.  When I took my digital citizenship class this summer, I was stunned by how much I didn’t know.  All of the English classes in my building do a digital citizenship lesson, but we are barely scratching the surface.  Digital citizenship teaches students many aspects of building and maintaining a safe and responsible web presence.  I wrote a blog about this topic this past summer which I attached below.

Exploring Digital Citizenship

Besides the 4 mentioned in the text and the 2 listed below, I shared 4 websites that I found during my research on raindrop.io and another on Twitter.


Erickson, K. (2018, May 16). Your Digital Footprint: What Is It and How Can You Manage It? [Web log post]. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://www.rasmussen.edu/student-life/blogs/college-life/what-is-digital-footprint/

[Internet Society]. (2016, January 12). Retrieved October 03, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro_LlRg8rGg&feature=youtu.be

Author: admin

This is the launch of my masters journey!!

5 thoughts on “Web Presence”

  1. I wanted to echo your commentary in regards to the teaching of digital web presence in a classroom environment. All the places I have taught have either ignored it, and essentially left it up the individual staff members to to go as deep or as shallow with the concept as they cared to do. I think this issues is rooted in the fact that teacher prep programs, at least the one I went through, basically tell us to lock it up and be extremely careful. Then they move on to pedagogy and other topics. We never learn much about it accept be careful with its use and your best off just not using it at all.

    I think the biggest issue with this strategy is that when we see students using social media and new platforms we are unfamiliar with, we are then ill equipped to advise and teach the appropriate behaviors to them.

    1. If you read the older article link I shared,you’ll see a comment I made about my generation and older. We are part of the problem. There are just not enough hours in the day for planning, grading, and learning about new technology to teach.

  2. Kat, given that the terms web presence and digital footprint do have different definitions, in what context did you find them being used interchangeably? It sounds like you’ve managed your web presence over the years fairly well. Being open but aware is one way to go.

  3. I agree with Erickson’s suggestions for managing information online, especially the last two items. As I mentioned in my post, sharing a picture online can have dire consequences. This is something for teens in high school to understand, as well as adults in college.

    Like you, I want to avoid the appearances of impropriety. If I present controversial issues in a class, I do my best to offer a balanced viewpoint. I don’t volunteer my stance, and if asked by a student, I try to make my response as neutral as I can.

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