Personal online identity, why and how?

I remember when I first started studying social media during my internship in London, at Chelgate Public Relations, in 2007. I was assigned the task to prepare a short presentation on why and how social media could impact their activity.

As a web developer, I have witnessed the evolution of social media right from the beginning: starting with the first blogs and the concept of RSS feeds, followed by the phenomenon of bookmark sharing through Digg or Delicious and up to micro blogging with Twitter and the almighty Facebook Page.

In a nutshell, social media is the interactive communication between communities, organizations and individuals through the online medium. And for this to happen, any real person would create for itself an online presence.

But why would you turn your online presence into an identity?

There are many reasons to do it, but the main word here is career. For instance, if you’re the creative type, having a personal online identity would help you showcase your work and boost your success. You could be studying to become an actor or a model – the online gives you visibility. Or you simply want to be in charge of what future employers can find out online about yourself after they read your CV.

Even if none of the above applies to you, there is always the opportunity to save time while presenting yourself in an organized manner to your audience when you turn your presence into an identity.

What about the privacy?

Your privacy is something that you should take very seriously, always. Anything that you publish online is bound to stay there no matter how hard you wish to remove it from the Internet. Indexing engines, including Google, crawl your content and create copies called cache. There is even an internet archive that might keep copies of your website after you delete it.

Furthermore, always make sure you have the copyright for what you’re about to publish and be aware that some social networks gain copyright over your content once you post it.

Nevertheless, never publish sensitive data like Social Security Numbers, full postal addresses, photos of your travel documents and even the dates while you are away on holiday.

Techniques that will save you from headaches

Now that we covered the why and some important don’ts I can move on to how. Here are three simple steps to help you build yourself a strong online identity:

  • set a goal
  • pick the right tools and networks
  • create, share, embrace feedback and keep evolving

Continue reading about each of the three steps in the following article!

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