Your Character Hero: Dana Nelson
Dana is the marketing coordinator at Signarama Evansville. She is also a social media strategist who works with companies on goals, policy, strategy and training. She is a noted speaker, a founding member of The Evansville Social Media Club, a trainer at the office of Career and Workforce Development at Western Kentucky University, noncredit program instructor at University of Southern Indiana, instructor at Northwestern Kentucky Training Consortium, co-chair of Evansville Girl Geek Dinners, founder of Linkedin to Learn, freelance writer for the Evansville Business Journal, Purdue master gardener, and 4-H Tech Club leader.
What is character?
What is your personal character? What is your online character? Do your personal and online characters clash? Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. As we are growing up, we often have many influences over us to help develop our sense of character. Parents, teachers, church affiliations, clubs and organizations all have a role in helping you define what values you are going develop. Who is there to help you develop your online character? We are living in an era where the “generation gap” is becoming wider. Students can and do operate technology much better than many teachers. (In the case of the Oakhill E-Leaders, kids teach teachers about technology.) Adults who are not as tech savvy, don’t know what platforms kids are on, and don’t monitor online behavior sufficiently enough to correct and teach unwanted behavior. Teachers often shy away from connecting with students online, so they can’t or don’t monitor.
Where does that leave you?
On your own. Not saying you’re not capable of policing yourself. I want you to be aware of a few things and challenge you.
#1: Should there be a difference?
Who you are on and offline should be the same. Photos, the way you talk, the way you treat each other and yourself. All of it should align. The reality, we all do it. Say things that make our online life seem greater (or in some cases, seem worst) than it really is in life. No matter how you spin this, it’s going to bite you.
#2: What you say matters.
When safely tucked behind a keyboard we are all brave. Some people use this false bravery to say things that are hurtful or unkind.
#3 How you say it matters.
Your digital footprint will be with you for a REALLY long time. I know you don’t want to think about it, but your spelling, grammar and use of foul and rough language will be evaluated when you want that job or internship in a few years.
My Three Challenges:
#1: See someone needing a character alignment?
Graciously point it out sighting one of the reasons above to remind them who they are at their core. This should always be done privately.
#2: Go above and beyond.
Reach out to someone who is obviously having a bad day. (Or in extreme cases point it out to an adult.) Did someone just post that they failed a test? Send them a private message with a funny (but appropriate picture or comic and an “I’m thinking of you” note.) Smile at them in the hall. Do something to let them know they matter.
#3: Monitor yourself.
Ask yourself “Would I say or show this to my mother, grandmother, preacher, teacher, or little sister?” If the answer is no…. Don’t post it.