Sunday, October 2, 2016

Reporting on My Digital Presence - Part 1

This week, I explored my digital footprint. This post will summarize my initial findings and what I think I could improve from what I discovered. Part 2 will document how I cleaned up my online presence, so stay tuned!

My Original Search
I began by typing my name into the Google search bar to see what would pop up. 

I typed my name into the Google search bar, and this is what it showed.

I quickly learned that Anna Kron is the name of a production company that was recently established in Stavanger, Norway. The first couple of listings on the Google search were related to the production company.

This is a screenshot of the home page of the Anna Kron film company.

The next listings from the search were Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, IMDb, and Whitepages. Though I do have Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, the ones that showed up on the first page of the Google search were not mine.

This is the bottom of the first page of my Google search.

Though I am on Facebook as "Anna Kron," I did not show up on the first 4 pages of the profile search.

However, my profile was the fourth listing on the LinkedIn search that appeared on Google.

The Twitter result was my personal Twitter, not my professional Twitter @MissAnnaKron. I have separate Twitter accounts because some of my first tweets were goofy (I joined Twitter in high school), but my personal Twitter is clean. I don't think that my personal Twitter paints me in a bad light, it's just not a professional social media account.

This is a screenshot of my personal Twitter account.

Besides the LinkedIn search and personal Twitter profile, none of the first few pages of my Google search resulted in anything that was related to me.

None of these links are referring to me.

None of these are me either.

When I got to the sixth page of results from this Google search, I finally found something that was relevant to me. This listing was a link to the announcement of the search committee members for the Dean of the College of Education and Richard O. Jacobson Endowed Chair of Leadership at UNI. I served as one of two student representatives on this search committee. I was surprised that the list of committee members was posted, but I was more shocked to see my personal phone number on this page! I blurred it out in this image because I do not want my cell phone number on the Internet; I'm not sure how the author of this post even accessed my phone number.

I served as a student representative on the search committee for UNI's new COE Dean!

I had a very difficult time finding myself by just Google searching my name. It was impossible to keep track of how many people had my name, but it was a lot. (Also, most of the people with my name had content in languages besides English.) I checked the other Google search pages (images, news, etc.) but was also unsuccessful in finding myself. Therefore, I put my name in quotes and added "Iowa City" to the end of my search. (I am from Iowa City, Iowa.) I thought these efforts might narrow the search focus down to results related to me.

After changing my search terms, the results looked more familiar! The first listing went to my LinkedIn page.

My LinkedIn needs assistance, but I do have an account!

The second listing was not related to me (I don't have a grave to my knowledge), but the third listing was for the Regina Record. The Regina Record is a yearly publication sent out by Regina Catholic Education Center (where I attended school K-12). It updates alumni and community members about what has occurred at the school in the past year. I was featured in the 2013 Regina Record a couple of times because it was my graduating year.

The top photo shows my whole class right before our graduation ceremony. Can you find me?

The Regina Record has a "Yesterday & Today" page that features graduating seniors and their family members who graduated in past years. My parents and paternal grandpa also graduated from Regina, so the four of us are pictured in the second to last row. I think it's cool that they use the family members' senior photos on this page!

Martha (Duffy) Kron ('84), me ('13), Shane Kron ('87), and Ron Kron ('67) 

I was also mentioned in this issue for National Merit.

The Class of 2013 was academically competitive. David and I missed the finalist cutoff by 1 point!
The next search listings that were relevant were race results from running cross country in high school. I was surprised to see that these were not my most recent race times. Both race results that popped up (from Tipton and Cascade, respectively) were from races that were early in my junior year season. I ran cross country my senior year as well, so I definitely have more recent race times. I also ran track in high school, and none of my track times appeared in my Google search. I included this in my findings not because I am ashamed of my times (though they are nothing to be proud of; I was the 7th runner on the JV team, so my scores only counted if a team member was disqualified), but because I think it is bizarre they appeared in my search.

Results from the JV Girls race at Tipton in 2011

Results from the JV Girls race at Cascade in 2011

After multiple listings of obituaries (of people I don't know) and various race times (which I still find odd), the bottom hit on the first page of the Google search was for a PBL I created while at UNI. If you're interested, you can check out my PBL here! It's targeted toward fifth grade students learning about the human body systems. Feel free to use it with your class, and let me know about the experience in the comments or on Twitter.

A hit on my Google search led to the "about us" page for a PBL I created a couple of years ago.

The next couple of related search results were from the University of Iowa News. In fifth grade, a friend and I competed in Invention Convention with our "Re-Mixed Baby Mobile." (It was a CD player that we hooked up to a baby mobile so that the mobile would play the CD music through its speakers. I'd be willing to share more details about the invention and experience through the comments!) We and we went all the way to the state convention with our invention. The first article was a recap of Invention Convention; the second was an announcement of Belin-Blank Center Honors Students (a title I earned through Invention Convention).

My name, invention title, grade, school, and hometown from Invention Convention 

My hometown, name, teacher's name, teacher's hometown, and state for the honors student award

Next, I discovered that I was named to the Summer Semester President's List at DMACC for 2016. I took two classes online through DMACC this past summer and maintained a 4.0 GPA. I didn't know I'd received this honor!

I was named to the Summer Semester President's List at DMACC for 2016.

The next relevant result from my Google search (besides a couple of other race times) led me to The Catholic MessengerThe Catholic Messenger wrote a story about Hunger Happens, which was an initiative I helped organize at my high school to educate students about global inequality and poverty. I am briefly quoted in the article and am mentioned with my friend, Kim Shiu.

I encourage you to read the article about Hunger Happens if you're curious about the project we implemented at our school!

The next pertinent Google hit was about Youth Salute. I was honored as a Youth Salute leadership award recipient after participating in the Youth Salute program. This article announced the presentation of my award.

As a senior, I was recognized for my academic achievement and leadership efforts.
I started to find some articles and photos of me from our local newspaper, the Iowa City Press-Citizen, in my search. Some of the search results showed that I was mentioned in newspaper articles that had been archived, and because I do not pay for a subscription to the online paper, I could not view them. However, a few photos (such as the one below) were accessible.

This photo is from the 2011 Iowa City Human Rights Commission Youth Awards. I am in the second row slightly to the left of the podium.

After a bunch of unviewable articles from the past, I was happy to see a recent article in the search results. This one was from the UNI Newsroom and mentioned my receipt of the Drake Martin Gold Star award in April. It also showed up as it appeared in The Courier.

All of these articles would be monotonous to continue adding to this post, so I am going to stop my summarization here. Basically, my Google search results were filled with old race times, mentions in articles, and obituaries of people who weren't related to me.

To change things up, I did attempt to search in Google Images for photos of myself. Below are my top results. (There weren't many photos after these top results, either.)

See the four photos that are actually me, boxed in red (including one in the bottom row where only the top of my head is visible).

I also tried to search myself in Google Videos as well. While I thought this might include reports from when I'd been on the television and radio, or even my YouTube videos for class, it actually showed results from a news station called KRON 4.

KRON 4 covers the news at 8:00 PM in the San Francisco Bay area.

For good measure, I also attempted to search myself through the Yahoo! search engine. However, this was even less fruitful than the Google search. I didn't find any relevant hits or images from that attempt.

Thoughts on My Findings
I was surprised at the results that were listed when I searched for myself. At first, this task felt very daunting because the results that were popping up were not associated with me. I don't know if I should consider this a good or bad thing. I don't believe I have anything to hide on the Internet; to my knowledge, I do not have any "dirty laundry" in cyberspace because I have been very careful about what I've posted. (My parents taught me digital literacy and safety from an early age, partially because they are my parents and wanted me to be careful, but also because my dad is a police officer and has seen things go awry online.) I also think that my hidden digital presence will make it more difficult for my future students to find me. However, my future employers may also have trouble finding my work and learning about me through my digital presence. Because I have taken great care to keep my Internet presence clean, this is troubling to me. I want future employers to see the work that I have done with technology, particularly educational technology, and I don't want it to be hard to find.

As for the specific hits that appeared, I wish my professional social media accounts (or really, just more of my accounts) had been featured. I have Facebook, two Twitters, Instagram, two Pinterests, Spotify, LinkedIn, Blogger, etc... the list continues. But very few of these showed up in my searches. Was it because I have all of them on hidden privacy settings? Or was I simply not searching hard enough?

Otherwise, the things that showed up in my searches were not bad. Some of them were very old (such as my fifth grade Invention Convention things), and some were slightly perplexing (such as my race times), but I am not embarrassed about any results that showed up. I would not be ashamed if a future employer, coworker, parent, student, etc. found these pages.

I think that to improve my presence, I will make sure that my social media accounts truly represent me and what I would like others to know about me. In particular, I would like to look at LinkedIn and update it to better reflect my current knowledge and skills. I also would like to expand my presence by creating an page. These are the only improvements I know I would like to implement now, but hopefully after some searching I can find ways to bolster my digital presence!

Note: All images in this post are my own screenshots.

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