This short presentation first reviews the Connected U (Middleton, Beckingham & Snape, 2015), an online digital toolkit of student, alumni, staff and employer video case studies about the use of LinkedIn as a tool for professional profiling. The collection of studies and guidance was produced for a recent HEA funded project.
The Connected U project demonstrated how the social networking tool LinkedIn, as the de facto social media for professional people, provides a useful space for both students and academics to present and manage their professional profiles. LinkedIn, therefore, becomes a necessary and common focus for driving engagement with Personal & Professional Development Planning (PPDP) and for Professional Recognition respectively. More than this, the project asserted that student employability should be framed within a lifelong strategy for being professional, creating an ’employability continuum’. Therefore both students, as aspiring professionals, and academic tutors, as practising professionals, are seen to have a common interest on this continuum in developing skills, habits and reputations and in ensuring they are capable of maintaining their professional standing throughout their careers.
If LinkedIn provides a ‘presentation layer’ driving engagement with professional profiling, how can other social media help to feed this, keeping profiles fresh and up-to-date? This paper will go beyond the cautionary and protective digital literacy discourse about personal management of social media exposure to positively explore digital capabilities and practices. The paper describes the concepts of the ‘digital toolbox’, digital narratives and social media portfolios; ideas which have since been developed as an outcome of the original project.
Reference Middleton, A., Beckingham, S., & Snape, K. (2015) ‘Linking learning: lifewide and lifelong’ Presented at ALT-C “Shaping the future of learning together”, 8th-11th September 2015, Manchester, UK.