Recently I spent some time looking at the materials I presented at the NLI last summer in Cambridge and I started thinking about what I would possibly present if I had the privilege to work at the next edition of the NLI. I would still run sessions on visual walkthroughs or screen-capture tutorials to use with students and staff. One area that really needs to be addressed, especially with those of us that are frequently online is managing our online identity...and possibly creating a brand for ourselves
I see this as being a multistep process that really should be done every year. The first step would be to decide what online tools and environments are out there..and which do you want to be a part of? I'm currently on Twitter
, Foursquare, numerous Google Sites pages, and about 45 NINGs around the planet. I view my identity on each of these as different than one another, and sometimes they intersect or support one another. What I mean is that I see myself as being more like "me" on Twitter, than I am on Facebook. On Facebook, I share links about interesting projects I'm working on, or things I read that I find interesting. However on Twitter I share many more links and ideas, and don't feel the need to vet my ideas before sending them out. It's important to understand what the affordances are for each group, or tool...and also decide how you chose to use them.
The next step would be investigating your Google Dashboard
and seeing what Google knows about you. Of course you could be proactive and add your own information. If you visit Google Profile
you can add/edit/revise your own identifying characteristics that will be used by Google as people search online for information about you. By filling in this information for yourself, you can be a little more sure about what people will find when they search online for you.
Additionally, registering a domain name is a great way to be proactive and build online information about you that YOU control. Domain addresses and hosting are relatively inexpensive and allow you to have online spaces in which you house your brand. Building a webpage using Google Apps, or hosting it elsewhere provides you with an opportunity to share biographical information, blog..or even link to your other online accounts. A very basic, yet somewhat slick tool to use as a basic homepage that I love is flavors.me
puts together a home page for you in a couple of minutes that gives you the opportunity to compile and distribute information about your online identity.
Whatever choices you make about your online brand, I ask that they are CHOICES. You should understand what each tool or social environment can do...and more importantly what do you want it to do. For most ICT tools there really are no rules for how they must be used. So, if you want to go nuts...and add avatars for all of your online accounts...feel free. The real key is to understand that your online brand is constantly evolving, even now as you're reading this. The question is whether or not you're informing that evolution or not. I would rather be proactive and create online content that people will be directed to when they search online for information about me.