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Social Media Literacy: Integrating Online Identity Management into Engineering and Technology Education

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Computers in Education General Technical Session II

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1306.1 - 22.1306.14



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Paper Authors


Mihaela Vorvoreanu Purdue University

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Dr. Vorvoreanu is an Assistant Professor in Computer Graphics Technology and Organizational Leadership & Supervision at Purdue University. She studies the socio-cultural impact of new communication technologies. Before joining Purdue, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University, SC, and the Department of Communication at the University of Dayton, Ohio. While at Clemson and UD respectively, Dr. Vorvoreanu taught various public relations and communication courses, and did academic research in the area of public relations and new Web technologies. . She has published research articles in the Journal of New Communications Research, Public Relations Review and the Journal of Website Promotion and a book about online public relations: Web Site Public Relations: How Corporations Build and Maintain Relationships Online. Dr. Vorvoreanu holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Purdue University.

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Quintana Clark Purdue University

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Quintana Clark is a student at Purdue University. Her research interests are social media in education, online identity management, and diversity and inclusion in education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

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Geovon Boisvenue Purdue University

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Geovon Boisvenue is an undergraduate student at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

His research interests include: computer and information technology, social media, public relations and rhetorical advocacy.

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Stephen Paul Woodall Purdue University

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Stephen Woodall is a master’s student in Computer Graphics Technology and a Graduate Administrative Professional in the Student Activities and Organizations area of the Office of the Dean of Students at Purdue University. His research interests include the assessment of social media adoption by student leaders and social media identity optimization. Woodall holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Graphics Technology with emphasis on interactive multimedia development.

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Social Media Literacy: Integrating Online Identity Management into Engineering and Technology EducationOne of the most dangerous myths about the current student generation (Millenials) is that theyare Digital Natives. This myth implies that students born after 1980 know everything about everyavailable online social networking tool. Although using Facebook to connect with friends may besecond nature to them, implementing successful social media strategies to craft and manageprofessional online identities requires a new digital literacy - social media literacy. We propose aplan for online identity management and argue for the integration of social media literacy intoengineering education.Millennials spend a lot of time engaged in online social networking, sharing media andcommunicating with friends, but most of their activities are of a personal nature. When thatshared content they produce online is taken out of the personal context and reviewed by potentialemployers, it often appears strikingly inappropriate and leads to negative consequences. Collegestudents may lose jobs or internships, missing out on valuable career opportunities, because ofpublicly available, but inappropriate, social media content. A Microsoft survey of HR andmanagement professionals shows that searching online for information about potentialemployees is common practice in current recruitment processes. Unfortunately, too manystudents are unaware of the importance and healthy practices associated with maintaining aprofessional online identity. We administered an anonymous survey to engineering andtechnology students, assessing their current online behaviors and awareness about thesignificance of having a professional online identity and present the results here.This paper argues for the integration into engineering education of a new type of digital literacy,social media literacy. Social media literacy implies, although is not limited to, the ability tocarefully manage one’s online presence to craft a professional online identity. We propose a planfor creating and maintaining a professional online identity comprising three guiding principles:1) the creation of professional online content; 2) the optimization of created content for socialmedia; 3) the development and maintenance of a successful professional network. The proposedplan adapts proven business and corporate marketing practices and relates them to the individual,thus providing a straightforward structure for students to follow and successfully manage theironline identities.This paper is directly relevant to engineering and technology educators, who can adopt ouronline identity management plan and translate it into education programs for their students.References:Cross-Tab (2010). Online reputation in a connected world. Microsoft-commissioned report.Online. Retrieved from

Vorvoreanu, M., & Clark, Q., & Boisvenue, G., & Woodall, S. P. (2011, June), Social Media Literacy: Integrating Online Identity Management into Engineering and Technology Education Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18425

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