Although I have come across the coinage digital footprint amongst other related terms in the past, they were at best distant modern words utilized by the technology savvy young folks. Without any clarity on how, I have always been conscious of what I now know as digital footprint. For ease of reference, your digital footprint is your online brand/image which is accessible to your family, friends, businesses, potential employers and even strangers as simply defined in the Leicester Online Networking and Employability (ONE) Award program.
In order to improve my knowledge and influence my digital footprint, I was lucky to have been chosen as a participant in the Leicester ONE program. Although a three-month program, the first month was based on Personal Branding. Going through the course outline, I had hoped to learn what personal branding was and how digital footprints either compliment or negates ones personal branding. I also planned to learn how to project and/or improve on my digital footprint.
The ONE experience gave the requisite answers to my long struggles. This was done through series of activities called e-tivity, webinars, group discussions and an assignment. The whole learning method was absolutely effective as several media of communication was utilized – visual, audio and text. I must say the experience met and surpassed my expectations. The group discussions gave insights into different perspectives of the subject and also opened my mind to the reality that I was not alone in the quest for this solution. I asked questions and got answers and tips from the presentation helped me to build what would become an improved personal brand. I hope to fully utilize the outcome across all social networks where I have a presence.
So far, I have adopted the use of one digital image with professional outlook across my social network i. e., LinkedIn, Twitter, facebook and on my personal blog – https://tayoshoots.wordpress.com/. I have also adopted same summary and description where possible or a consistent adaptation with same message where impossible.
Having taken part in this program, I have very importantly developed a consciousness towards the importance of personal branding and digital presence to individual online networking and employability. This consciousness was aroused through the statistical details learned on recruiters’ dependence on online means in the process of recruiting. I have further learned the act of putting up the right image and personal brand that is consistent across various media to improve my digital footprints and personal image. As part of a group, I learned the importance of sharing challenges with people of like minds in order to have healthy exchanges towards providing solutions.
Having learned and gained further insights into the importance of this aspect of my professional life, I have become a sort of advocate wherever possible amongst colleagues and during training sessions facilitated by me on the importance of positive digital footprints and personal brands. I have also been able to pass this positive information to members of the alumni group of my secondary school in the form of comments at https://www.facebook.com/groups/286738124722949/565768396819919/?comment_id=566519480078144¬if_t=like This experience although in an informal organization setting further buttresses the possible impacts, reactions and outcomes of poorly projected digital footprints and personal brands.
As a direct consequence of this experience, having learned the importance of consistency in online presence and personal image, I have made conscious efforts at ensuring that my name is used in most media using the same format. I currently write my name as Tayo Orisadare as against my previous use of ‘Tayo Orisadare. This has made online search for my name much easier without the apostrophe.
I have also made a description of myself in different social media more concise and projecting my unique selling points as against the very long description I had where the key points were mostly lost in the prose.
In the future, I hope to be able to harness my presence in the different social media to further improve my digital presence and personal brand. I intend to develop the skill to link these various media and use one to promote the other. After a successful grasp of my personal digital marketing skills, I hope to have developed not only a professional personal brand but also a healthy digital footprint. With this experience, I can authoritatively admonish that we devote as much attention at building a successful professional career as building and ensuring not only a professional personal brand but also a healthy digital footprint. Until the next time – find, aim and shoot at whatever life brings your ways.