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New tools for balancing and enhancing digital identities

Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are. 

Seth Godin, Permanent Branding in the Age of Google

I think a lot about the fact that so many kids have no digital identity or e-reputation other than the very casual content they post about their lives outside of school, on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, or Vine.

While many of these kids have rich lives as young writers and media creators, both in and outside of school, and early career and volunteer experiences, there is likely no official record of this fine work.

Our young artists and writers and scholars and athletes and thespians and musicians and inventors and business people may not know how to leverage/network their talents in ways that will get them noticed outside their virtual or face-to-face peer groups.

When we do lead them to promoting themselves to the world beyond school, it is often in the form of the traditional résumé or perhaps, a Google Sites portfolio.

Most adults, especially HR directors and college admissions officers recognize the game has changed. We need to update our strategies and prepare kids to play in online professional networks.

A couple of new options exist for the kid who wants to balance his or her casual presence with a more professional presence.

High school may now be the right time to begin to build a LinkedIn profile.

Next week, LinkedIn launches its new University Pages for U.S. students, ages 14 and older.  The resource is designed to help young people build profiles and networks as they look for internships, study and career opportunities.

In the LinkedIn Blog,  Christina Allen announced the launch as one cornerstone of our strategy to help students at every critical milestone from campus to fulfilling, successful careers.

She shared the vision:

We believe University Pages will be especially valuable for students making their first, big decision about where to attend college. Therefore, beginning on September 12, we will be making LinkedIn available to high school students* who can use LinkedIn to explore schools worldwide, greatly expand their understanding of the careers available, and get a head start on building a network of family and friends to help guide them at every milestone.

NYU University Page

University Pages highlight notable alumni and offer space for prospective students to connect and tap into the growing networks, ask current students and alumni questions, and explore the career path of graduates from the University for an idea of what they can expect after receiving their degree.

Among the more than 200 universities with LinkedIn pages are New York University, University of California San DiegoUniversity of Michigan, Villanova, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Illinois.  Allen expects that thousands more will adopt pages over the coming weeks.

For some guidance on what older high school and college students should share on their professional profiles, see Mashable’s What Every College Student Should Post on LinkedIn

Another tool that might be right for high school upperclassmen, or for you professionally, is  This free, one-page space offers other an immediate overview of your online identity and presents your professional or personal brand as you wish it to be presented. allows you to point to the networks and content you want to share and to design a personal home page far more beautiful, and likely more distributable, than the traditional resume or CV.  It’s also becoming another valuable strategy for discovering new contacts.

You can also get detailed statistics visitors, what they clicked on, and where they came from.

The About us page explains:

We believe that you should own your own identity. That your identity should be both projected and protected. It should encompass the different facets of your life. It should be portable and universally accessible. And most importantly, it should be easy to create and manage.

I need to do some serious editing, but here’s what mine looks like so far.  I’ve linked to the bulkier content on the third party sites that make sense to me as the right containers.

This may be a valuable project for your incoming senior class or for your graduate students about to begin career searches.

Interested? Grab your name.

And finally, Rebelmouse currently aggregates the stuff I am reading and writing about onto one handy homepage.

I know many other folks are using the site as a kind of business card, managing their pages far more carefully that I am so that it truly represents their activities.  But for, me, it represents to others what I am currently interested in and it’s the spot I go when I forgot that wonderful idea I read about yesterday.

Business card image source.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Just in time information–finished a lesson on this topic with our seniors this week and needed a follow-up assignment. These ideas are awesome!! I shared them with our senior English teachers and college and senior counselors–we will see what we can come up with. Thanks, Joyce.

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