The main question in the blogs that I follow seems to be: how important is an online presence, anyway?
I think it is (most) important to be aware of what you share. You need to know what people can find out about you online and if you are happy with it. If not, take charge!
I am not the most open person and think I use the privacy settings of things wisely, but like I wrote in an earlier post, should I share more confidently? I am still not sure what I am comfortable with, and I think I’d rather share less than regret sharing too much at a later date (once Google gets it and all that). So it all stays how it is for now.
On her blog Erika ruminates about her personal brand and what branding means to the young information professional. I agree with her that an online presence might not help with job applications these days, but I am hoping this will change in the future. Many library managers in my workplace are due to retire in the next three to five years and I am hoping that this might bring some “young ones” to the top. This is “young” as in “new”, and a chance for new approaches, being open-minded, letting new ideas flourish, a new, less fearful approach to technology, that kid of thing. Of course there are already people like this up there but not everyone. I am hoping for the rise of a “new” generation of library and information workers.
Having an online brand, and using the internet for networking and learning will help to see you are not alone with your ideas, problems, etc. And just for that it’s worthwhile to have a brand that people recognise, to connect with you.
I also agree that a decision needs to be made to dedicate your time to the activities that are most beneficial to your career and interests at the time. But be careful not to miss out on learning, just because your superiors don’t encourage or understand it.
Generally I am glad to see that I am not the only one struggling with the topic of online presence. As Sabine puts it in her blog “ Where lies the fine balance between giving away enough information for professional purposes and protecting my privacy?” I couldn’t say. Does anyone have an answer? I don’t think so, as it’s such a personal matter and it’s up to the individual to decide what they want to be seen as. It’s really the same as in the real world but more permanent. Just think: if you say something stupid in real life it’s forgotten as soon as the next person says somethign stupid. Online it takes a lot more hard work to erase stuff. But of course this can also be reversed: Your successes might be recorded for that little bit longer. Don’t believe everything you read though (not that I have to tell you 😉 )!