Social media

Aims and objectives

This module will:

  • explore the digital footprint you leave online
  • explore different social media platforms and their uses.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • understand privacy concerns when using social media
  • use social media effectively to enhance learning and improve your online brand.

1. Social media and your digital footprint

What is social media?

Social media is the term for online communication which allows us to keep in touch with people, join existing networks or create new networks. Social media platforms include:

  • social networking sites e.g. Facebook
  • microblogging sites e.g. Twitter
  • video sharing sites e.g. YouTube
  • photo sharing sites e.g. Instagram.

You can use social media to:

  • develop personal learning networks
  • access useful information
  • establish your personal or professional online brand
  • communicate and collaborate with others
  • follow organisations and people that interest you.

18 million Australians were active social media users in 2020. Interacting and sharing information with others online can be fun and informative. However, when you use social media you can't always control who sees your content and you need to be aware of ethical concerns. Kindness, fairness, truthfulness and integrity are just as important in your online interactions, as they are in your face to face ones.

Digital footprint

Your digital footprint is data that shows a record of your online interactions. This could include websites you have visited, posts you have left on social media and things people have said about or to you on social media. If you delete a social media post it may still remain accessible online, even if you can’t see it. Web content is captured by internet robots that crawl the web and index content. The Employability module has more information about being careful with what your digital footprint reveals to potential employers.

Whenever you visit an online site you are leaving behind a digital footprint via technology such as cookies. These bits of data allow websites to remember that you have visited and what you have done on the site. You can read more about cookies in the Internet essentials module.

What Do Your Digital Footprints Say About You? (YouTube, 8m20s)

What does my current digital footprint look like?

Search for yourself online to see what comes up. If there is online content that you regret, it's not too late to do something about it:

  • Delete posts or photos that are publicly available that no longer represent you
  • Change your privacy settings
  • Unfollow or unsubscribe from groups or posts that you no longer want to be associated with
  • Untag yourself from other's posts or ask them to remove the content

What if there is content that I regret that I can't remove from online?

We all make mistakes, especially when we are young. There are plenty of examples of celebrities and polititicians who have apologised, and been forgiven, for actions or beliefs they no longer endorse that are recorded online. From now on, try to only associate yourself with things that you won't feel embarrassed about or regret in the future.

If you feel concerned about your health and wellbeing don’t hesitate to access Student Support services.

The Digital wellbeing and privacy module has tips on managing your use of digital technology and protecting your privacy.

Duration:   Approximately 20 minutes


Graduate attributes

Knowledge and skills you can gain to contribute to your Graduate attributes:

Effective communication Effective communication

 Ethical and social understanding


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