When Kaitlin Jennrich first walked into her communications seminar last fall, she had no idea that the professor already knew of her affinity for pink cars and Olive Garden breadsticks—and that she planned to share that knowledge with the class. It hadn’t taken much sleuthing on the professor’s part to uncover those inane nuggets. The 18-year-old freshman at Northwestern University had herself lobbed them into the public sphere, via Twitter.
Her reaction, she recalls, was, “Oh, no.”
“I realized the kind of image I was putting out there wasn’t the kind of image I wanted potential employers or professors to see,” says Ms. Jennrich, whose professional aspirations include sports public relations.
That is just the sort of gut check that Eszter Hargittai, a sociologist and Northwestern professor in the communications-studies department, wants students to make during the 10-week course called “Managing Your Online Reputation.” She created the curriculum with her colleague Brayden King, an associate professor of management and organization at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. <Read more.>