Why cultivate an online profile?
The fact is that even those of us who aren’t active on social media have a visible online presence. A quick Google search of your name will likely pull up a lot of information about you, and potentially not all of it will be good. We all have a digital dossier and as we discuss on our “Overexposed” page, lots of employers perform cyber-vetting to weed out potential employees.
Taking control of your personal information allows you to shape your digital identity and to connect with others, and this is particularly important for students and new graduates. Social networking increases networking options, but consistency and personality are key to a recognizable persona. This doesn’t mean you have to be the same person on every platform, but you might consider using the same profile picture everywhere or linking across profiles. You don’t even need to participate all that much (despite popular opinion); just do what works for you.
Things to consider:
- What is your purpose for cultivating an online profile and what do you want people to be able to see? Do you simply want to network online? Do you want to collaborate with others in your field? Are you looking to create and disseminate original content? This will impact what you post and where you post it.
- Who is your audience? Knowing who your content is directed towards will influence not only what you post, but your tone as well.
- Consider the intended use of each platform and think about how the platforms themselves influence expression. (Twitter’s 140-character limit seems to be the most commonly-cited example.)
- Depending on your professional interests, it may be wise to have both ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ accounts on certain social sites. This will allow you to be more ‘free’ on your personal account, while still maintaining a professional online profile.
- If you don’t want one of your social networks to be found by your employer or colleagues, consider improving your privacy settings on those sites that you wish to keep personal.
- Learn about e-portfolios and decide if they are a good option to up your academic online profile.
- Cultivating an Online Profile
- Global Social Media Research Summary 2016 | Smart Insights
- Why Bother With an Online Prescence | Academic Coaching and Writing (2014)
- How Social Media can Help or Hurt you in your Job Search | Forbes (2014)
- Establish and Maintain your Online Identity | Life Hacker (2010)
- What if your CV is not Enough | The Thesis Whisperer (2011)
- To Be or Not to Be Online | Inside Higher Ed (2014)
- Five Best Personal Landing Pages | Life Hacker (2010)
- How to use Linkedin | Hubspot (2015)
- 5 Reasons why your Online Presence will Replace your Resume in 10 Years | Forbes (2011)
The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.
- Do you think having an online presence is important when searching for employment?
- Have you googled yourself recently? Did you like what you saw?