Created: September 2017. Last Updated: July 2018.
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Participants will be able to identify one type of personal information they can manage online, one form of information they can’t totally control online, and one thing they can do about some aspect of their personal information online not directly controlled by them.
[30 minutes] Activity #1
[25 minutes] Assignment
- [For educator] Computer with Internet access
Projector and projection screen
[For participants] Computers or mobile devices with Internet access
Social media profile: Barack Obama's Facebook page - by Barack Obama
Hypothetical tweets: Hypothetical negative tweets directed at Obama
Activity #1: Online Profiles and Storytelling
The public information that is available about you online comes from many sources. You can control some of those sources, like the content you share (e.g., photos, videos, text-based posts) on your social media profiles.
[Project Barack Obama's Facebook page on a projection screen. Then, read out or project the hypothetical negative tweets about Obama provided below on a projection screen. Please make sure that participants understand that the content of these tweets and the Twitter handles themselves are fictional. They have been created solely for the purposes of this activity.]
@Luciano1782586: Barack Obama burns everything he cooks. Even the economy!
@Artemis4062456: Obama has a poor sense of direction. He can’t even find his way to the White House without a GPS!
@Sergei5639876: Obama wouldn’t know foreign policy if a treaty hit him in the face.
What are your reactions to Barack Obama's Facebook page?
What about the hypothetical negative tweets directed at Obama?
How do you think they might make Obama feel? [e.g., offended, potentially humored.] And how might they make other people feel in terms of how much they like / dislike Obama?
Now think about your own social media profile(s).
What is the story that people might take away from reading your profile?
Who writes that story?
How might you manage that information?
What can you influence with respect to online content about you?
What can't you control?
Look at one of your personal social media profiles (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WeChat, etc.) or the social media profile of a public figure (e.g., someone in the music and / or film [movies / TV] industry, political figure, business leader). Pick several pieces of content (e.g., photos, videos, text-based posts) that are visible on the profile.
Who created the content? Why?
What are some of the comments?
Who was the target audience for each piece of content?
What information was left out?
[Ask participants to write a few paragraphs based on the content they reviewed in the previous activity and answer the following questions:]
What is one type of content that you / the account owner DO / DOES primarily control?
[Suggested responses: their username; their own status updates; their posts / shares / tweets; the photos or videos they upload to their stories or moments; comments they make on the content other people share on social media.]
What is one type of content that you / the account owner DO / DOES NOT primarily control?
[Suggested responses: comments other people make on the content they share on social media (e.g., their stories, moments, status updates, tweets); the content others share on social media; how friends / followers / those they are connected to share online content they have uploaded.]
What is one thing you can do about content that someone else has shared about you that you don’t like for some reason (i.e., this information is NOT in your direct control)?
[Suggested responses: untag themselves; reach out to the person who shared the content and ask them to remove it; block the user; if they fear for their safety, tell a trusted adult; depending on the platform, they may be able to report the content and / or the user if it’s harassment or bullying.]