Professionalism on the Web

Thoughts on Twitter

Matthew Moore, 3/2/14

The rapid and widespread popularity of Twitter has never ceased to amaze me. I acknowledge that it is a platform for wide-spread communication of ideas from one person to another person who could be many miles away they will never meet. I have never understood though how conversations on Twitter work though. I have been told that it is a veritable platform for communication and that people have had long and fulfilling talks with others via Twitter, but I do not know how they do it.

Over the last month I have been trying to address people in my intended future field, writing and English, via Twitter, but I have been unsuccessful. I know that I cannot honestly expect everyone I tweet to look at and address every tweet that they receive. Some of them clearly don’t respond to anyone other than friends, and I must admit, I am the same way. I would send out tweets to various Professors and others that seemed to be in the writing filed, but I was only meant with a torrent of silence.

As I was tweeting though I began to notice a number of things that kept bothering me as I was trying to compose my messages and find new people to address. First off, I was spending a bizarre amount of time composing these tweets as opposed to any of the other tweets I was doing. Most tweets took me less than a minute to bring them to a point that I was satisfied to shoot them off to whomever their target was, if anyone. But for these tweets, it would take me at least several minutes to settle on a message I thought was adequate enough to send.

I suppose the key idea that kept popping into the back of my head while I was writing to these people was, what are the rules? In face to face social conversations, I am well acquainted with the rules; stand a respectable distance away, don’t raise your voice except for emphasis, maintain eye contact, ect. Talking on the internet though, I was completely clueless. How long am I supposed to wait for a response? How formal or informal should I be with someone I have not met? What is a casual topic to start conversation with? There just too many things I simply did not know. This lack of knowledge of how to speak online threw me completely off and I can’t help but feel as though it negatively influenced my ability to speak online. This is bizarre to me.

I myself have written about how it is supposedly easier to speak online that off, and yet here I found myself stifled. Without proper knowledge of what the community’s rules are I was paralyzed and unable to speak effectively to others. Normally I would have tried to learn the rules through observation, but I did not notice a significant amount of conversations while I used Twitter. I suppose I just did not have a conversation focused experience with Twitter, and as such there was nothing I could observe.

I feel bad about this to be honest, as I’m unable to comment on how to represent yourself for twitter in a positive or a negative light. I suppose I could make a comment on the importance of learning the rules of any online community you engage with, but that would feel hollow without any advice to give. Perhaps there are no uniform rules across Twitter and it is more dependent upon who you speak to on Twitter. If you know the person then, I suppose you should speak to them there the same way you would respond to them in real life. If you’re addressing a person you aren’t familiar with, try to remain respectful. I’m sorry I can’t add anymore to that. 

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Is your LinkedIn profile your friend or foe?

As a newcomer in some aspects of social media myself (I just recently got a twitter account less than a year ago) some places of the internet have still been left unexplored by me.

One of those is a LinkedIn profile. I have never taken the time to do so because I did not know if my educational or work background was profound enough to start one. However, after stumbling upon this article I am glad I have never started it yet!

It seems as though many people entering the online realm of professional profile making may have been daunted, confused, or bored by the entire process and left it unfinished. With that being said your online reputation is already being judged by future employers from your “unfishined business.”

Stephanie Sammons, the author, explains that doing a Google search of your name probably results in your personal sites first such as your Facebook or Twitter site. This can hinder you if you have not yet started and completed a professional profile such as LinkedIn.

As the author says “If you don’t define your online reputation, it will define you.”

So what I learned from reading this piece it is that it’s important to sit down and put some time aside to really revamp your online image especially right before going out to search for a future career. Knowing myself personally, I know I  have not completed my educational journey yet, so that part would be left unfinished. When the time came around for me to graduate and to go out to get a job, would I have remembered to polish up my LinkedIn profile or would it have gone forgotten?

Another great quote from this article I enjoyed was: “Your online reputation precedes your offline reputation in the digital age.” 

With that being said an unfinished profile might result in a potential employer thinking you are insufficient in starting and finishing projects. As time goes on technology will be more and more included in the hiring process and it’s important to cover all your bases and know how to present yourself professionally online.

To make sure you are taking the right steps to creating an effective online profile, you can check out another post I made featuring a checklist of important things to include in your LinkedIn page.

http://blog.wiredadvisor.com/is-your-linkedin-profile-harming-your-reputation/

What is LinkedIn all about?

Today I read an article by Rob Asghar, a contributor on Forbes. His article focused LinkedIn profiles, and my blog is going to be an exploration of LinkedIn, a website that I’ve heard so much about but do not actually understand to use. So firstly I’m going to google “how to use LinkedIn”

The video walked me through why LinkedIn is important and how to generally use it. The video is very helpful so I suggest that you watch it too.

Not having a profile myself, one of my friends, Brandon allowed me log into his, perhaps after I will make one myself.

After logging in I go to the home page, much like facebook or twitter, this home page give an overview on connections made to the profile.

1

The first thing I notice is a pop up showing which people have been looking at the profile recently. Most of the people that are already connect to the profile. When you check to see which people have checked out your profile you have the option to message them or explore their profile. Going down the homepage, LinkedIn suggests other profiles to follow that go along with the profile already made. The home page also shows jobs that are posted that are connect to your, or in this case Brandon’s profile.  This home page also shows connections your friends have made to other people, much like facebook.

The most important thing about LinkedIn is that you can represent yourself in the most professional setting. By creating a working resume and having connections with professionals in your field shows a great deal about your attitude towards your career. 

Google Yourself

Today, I wanted to know what my employers would find if they googled me, most importantly what embarrassing things would they find about me and would it change my chances of getting a job. So I did just that, I logged out of every social media account I had (facebook,instagram,google+) to see what the public and my future boss may see.

I begin to google myself…
Google

A bunch of results, to 53,600 results to be exact. So let me begin to explore what the World Wide Web knows about me.

The first result is facebook. I have to open it, what can the public see about what I think is a private page about me and my life.  After opening facebook as a public viewer, people can see my profile pictures, cover pictures, and my interests. Thankfully all my other information is hidden unless we become facebook “friends”.

So what else came up on my own Google search? An Anna Kolbach (spelled with two n’s), not me. My fourth result was my Prezi account, with three of my Prezi’s on display for anyone to see. This is not a big since they were all created for some class. My fifth through eighth result for the search of Ana Kolbach on Google consists of my pole vaulting career from high school and college.  Going through pages of me and Anna Kolbach on the web I find other accounts I have made, such as Diigo , and my involvement with Rowan University in many different areas. It’s good to say that I’m a pretty boring person on the web.

One very interesting thing I found on the web was my family tree:
family
Let me zoom in so you can actually see me!
famiiiil

There I am. Even though I am an incredibly boring person on the web, what could someone do to keep their professionalism online?

After reading an article by Alan Henry to help clean up your online appearance. He breaks it down to many simple steps but I’ll highlight just a few of them:

Step 1: Just as I did, search for yourself on Google and Facebook. Really click around to see how deep someone can get into your life, find those embarrassing pictures. Did you find results you did not enjoy? Well Google has a way to fix these things.  It is by removing content or website when a search is done to you. Google has a step by step process to removing information about yourself on the internet. Thank you Google!

When it come to facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google +, make those pages private or even delete them all together. That way no one can can take information about you with out your consent.

Step 2: The second step of this process is to boost yourself up by creating profiles that truly represent you in your best light.  Henry suggests by getting your own domain and turn that website into your own profile which can hold your resume, photos, interests and anything positive that represents you. You can even use this new domain as your email!

So what is your web face? I hope this post inspires you to search and then clean up what people see about you online.

Social Media Parody Video

This parody video was made by the local Fox channel in Dallas- Fort Worth, Texas. It starts with the first 20 seconds or so seeming like your average news channel coverage on the scene of a city hall shootout. However, when it comes time to see the reporters on the scene, the first one is tweeting and the next reporter even takes a “selfie” with a dead victim found at the crime scene!

I think the spoofs in this video really highlight how we use some of the social media and how ridiculous they can honestly sound. How silly did the one reporter sound telling us about her checking into “Foursquare” at Starbucks?

The example of the reporter tweeting the shooting and not actually being involved in what was going around him hit home for me. I know there have definitely been times when I out was somewhere too busy trying to get the perfect Instagram photo or tweeting about it rather than actually just enjoying it in the moment.

It may sound silly saying all these things (skyping, tweeting, liking a page) out loud and watching others engage in them so seriously is a little cringe inducing but I think it brings something important to mind.

It is okay to be an active user in all outlets of social media. However, to immerse yourself so deeply that you lose touch with the reality of a situation is when a red flag should be raised. After watching this video, perhaps next time you go to use social media you’ll do so more consciously and with purpose. I know I will!

Social Media Task List

Since the popularity and explosion of technology and social media, many people have turned to the computer and internet for advertisement or business related purposes. Since many of these people probably started out with personal profiles before professional, it can be tricky to determine what is important when it comes to maintaining their professional electronic profile.

While browsing through Zite I came across this article that featured a graphic “checklist” one could use to determine if you are using your technology in the most effective way possible.

Having a personal profile such as Facebook, you get the satisfaction of posting about your breakfast, ranting about that episode of “The Bachelor” or sharing photos of the snow day. With a professional profile not as much. While it may be fun to incorporate some personal touches into a business or professional page, it can be distracting.

I think one of the most important things to take from this list is staying connected with others. When you interact with others through the correct way, people are drawn to your site and want to keep coming back. If you never respond or post anything of relevancy that might interest your audience, they may think you’re just a robot behind the computer screen.

Another important thing to keep in mind is relevancy. If you are a person running a twitter website for a certain company that deals with (for example) fitness, you should stick to retweeing/tweeting about other tweets that have to do with fitness. Make your professional profile stay on track.

While these little tasks may seem time consuming, they are important to utilize into your social media routine to obtain the best results. Engaging and connecting with one another the right way really ties people together and strengthens the 0nline community in the most healthy, beneficial way possible. Whether it be expanding your business or advertising, this task list is a good place to start.