Personal Branding and Digital Citizenship

In todays highly competitive world it is important for students to understand the impact that their digital footprint can have on their lives. Many men and women, young and old have embraced 21st century technology such as Twitter and Facebook as a means of conversation, research and self publicity. Unfortunately we often fail as a society in providing direction as to both the positive and negative impacts that this can cause.

When used correctly social media can be an extremely powerful instrument for students who want to catch the attention of prospective colleges, universities and future bosses. By carefully constructing a powerful and positive Personal Brand, students can learn how to stand out from the crowd while demonstrating the exceptional accomplishments that they achieve in and out of the classroom.

I often hear the phrase, "think before you tweet." This simple quote is the backbone of Personal Branding and Digital Citizenship. Think about what you are using social media for. Think about what you want your message to be. Think about the implications of your comments and photos that you post online. And think about what you can share that will allow you to stand out from the rest. 

Students should be encouraged to think about their future and shown how social media can give them a foot in the door. In addition to careful curation of their best work they need exposure to creation tools that will assist in the formatting of the content. Finally, through the use of blogs, website design and social media students need to gain expertise in whatever areas they choose.


Once students have gone through a number of reflective activities in relation to digital citizenship they are then expected to use what they have learned to craft their own unique and live, Personal Brand. For some, this will serve as a path towards a goal that they have had since early childhood and for others this will be the first time they have given much consideration to the idea of their future. In both scenarios Personal Branding has proven to have a positive impact on their lives and on their futures.

 “The rise of the personal brand reflects changing economic structures, as secure lifetime employment gives way to a churning market in tasks. It suggests a new unscriptedness in institutions as we evolve from the broadcast age to the age of retweets. It augurs a future in which we all function like one-person conglomerates, calculating how every action affects our positioning.

(NY Times: Branding and the 'Me' Economy By Anand Giridharadas, Published: February 26, 2010

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