A Strategy for Keeping a Positive Online Presence (POP)
We’ve discussed digital footprints and their impact this week. Even though I’ve grown up in an era where technology was a babysitter and I’ve used it my whole life, it was still an eye opener to see just how much information about an individual can be found online. In a society where potential employers are constantly scanning through social media profiles, it is imperative that potential employees keep a positive and professional digital presence on the web.
There are many ways to keep a positive and professional presence, but here are ten strategies that I plan to use to keep and maintain and clean digital image.
1. Establish an online identity (Edmiston)
I already have an online identity. It was started several years ago and was influenced by a number of things. News articles about scholarships and internships. Creating a social media profile—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even before all that—AIM and Yahoo messenger. This resource recommends creating a brand name and I’ve already started that. I purchased tygrogan.com about a year ago. I’ve primarily used it for the EDTECH program at BSU, but after graduation, I plan to use it as an educational technology professional development site for teachers in our district. So, the first step to create a “POP,” or professional online presence, is to create your own online identity. Considered it complete.
2. Create social media accounts with personalized URLs (Edmiston)
This is a small task, but an important one. There are 7 billion people on planet earth. The odds that someone shares the same name with you are pretty high! To make yourself marketable and to get an edge on competition, it’s important to make sure you claim your social media accounts with a personalized URL. I was quick to claim my Facebook URL, facebook.com/tygrogan. I was not so fast to claim twitter, getting stuck with my first initial and the remainder of my name, @ctygrogan. It is a great idea, if you can, to claim your personal URLs so that you could easily post them on career sites and even your resume.
3. Digital Footprint Audit (Joel 2009)
This is an important part of making sure your POP is just that, professional. Joel recommends that we use free tools to see what is being said about us online. He recommends tools such as Technorati and Twitter search along with search engines like Google and Yahoo. It is important that we continuously keep an audit on our POP and make sure nothing negative is being populated unless it is warranted. This is something that I’ve not done, but plan to from now on to make sure that my POP stays clean, professional, and relevant.
4. Don’t Overshare (TeachThought)
This seems like a no brainer, but sometimes I feel that people get to confident in the security of their online presence. I interpret don’t overshare in two ways. First, don’t overshare personal information that could be used to steal your identity. This could be as simple as don’t share your address, social security number, and other personal identification information. But, it could also mean not sharing that your own vacation while your away, making your home a perfect target for burglars. I also interpret don’t overshare as in do not post a lot in one day. Keep your posts limited and meaningful, not overdoing it on social media. Personally, I think posting a lot in one day is annoying. But, it also means making your digital footprint huge. It’s also a good idea not to share your personal opinions on certain hot topics in the media, as it could cost you a job (think girl in Arlington Cemetery who gave the middle finger to the “show respect” sign).
5. Keep a List of Accounts (TeachThought)
This, too, sounds simple, but can be overwhelming at times. There are so many social media avenues that we sign up for. It can be a massive headache to keep up with all of these accounts. The last thing you want to do is use the same email address and password for all of accounts, if one gets compromised, they all will. This would ultimately destroy your online presence. Your custom URLs would be locked out because you would have to disable that account for being hacked. So, something small, but very important, can keep your online presence safe from hackers.
6. Work on your blog (Taub 2012)
I have a blog for the EDTECH program that I still slightly use. As I transition from BSU into my professional life, I need to use my blog to my advantage. I can use it for several topics: tech professional development, personal stories, and so much more. Regardless, I need to show an active online presence by blogging every so often.
7. Realize that owning your digital identity takes time (Taub 2012)
Alex Taub, in his article, states that, “owning my digital identity didn’t happen overnight.” This is something that I need to realize and deal with. I want to go out and mark my territory everywhere right now. But, by doing that, I’m likely to miss something and have incomplete profiles lingering on the internet. Instead, I need to start with my current digital presence and make sure it is clean. I can then move on to more avenues and expand my digital presence, realizing that it takes time. Slow and steady wins the digital race.
8. Track my Traffic (Dunlap and Lowenthal 2012)
As I begin to further the intentionality of my online presence, it would be good information to know how many people I am reaching. Patrick Lowenthal, a BSU professor, says that tracking the analytics of your site will help you “get a better idea of what your audience values.” This would be a huge help and maintaining a POP. If my hits were lower, then I’m not being relevant and I need to change my strategy. If my hits are high, I’m doing something right and I need to keep on doing it.
9. Complete all profiles (Dunlap and Lowenthal 2012)
It is important that no matter how many social avenues I use online, that I make sure all of them are complete. I need to find my old myspace and delete it. I need to revamp my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. I truly need to up my game on Linkedin. I need to make sure that when someone searches me, there is no shadow of a doubt that I am truly who they are looking for. Lowenthal and Dunlap believe that profiles should include keywords about you so that you can easily be found on the web.
10. Have fun (Joel 2009)
After creating your online presence, it’s important to make sure you keep relevant and an active presence. I’ve not really done this for a professional sense. I need to make a divide between personal and professional accounts. When I develop my solely professional accounts, I need to keep them active and relevant so that they will be used by myself and others. Joel states that “there are so many channels” out there. We need to choose the one (or two) that suits us best and stick with them and keep them active. Most importantly, have fun! Don’t make this social media gig a second job.
Edmiston, Dawn. "Five Simple Steps for "Developing POP!" – A Professional Online Presence." PSRA Job Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 July 2015.
Joel, Mitch. "How To Build Your Digital Footprint In 8 Easy Steps." Six Pixels of Separation. N.p., 5 Mar. 2009. Web. 13 July 2015.
Lowenthal, Patrick, and Joanna Dunlap. "Intentional Web Presence: 10 SEO Strategies Every Academic Needs to Know." EducauseReview. N.p., 6 June 2012. Web. 13 July 2015.
Taub, Alex. "5 Key Things Needed To Improve Your Digital Identity."Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 7 July 2012. Web. 13 July 2015.
"11 Tips For Students To Manage Their Digital Footprints." TeachThought. N.p., 08 Mar. 2014. Web. 13 July 2015.