Building an Online Identity

This morning, I have spent a good chunk of time looking for myself on various search engines, observing what I have seen (and haven’t seen).  This led me to think about how I’m currently represented online and prompted me to make some updates and clean up my ‘Online Identity.’  Typing ‘Dan Wachal’ into Google (we all do this… come on… admit it) shows my Google +, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Picasa,  and About.Me pages. Phew. Who knew the internet knew so much about me?  If I am going to be this visible on the internet, I better make sure I look good (or ‘fresh’ as Jersey Shore would say).  I have found some of these sites to be good representations of myself and would like to share what I have learnt along the way.

photo by: fredcavazza

Google +: I really don’t use my Google + account too often.  Actually, the only reason I have it active is because my Android phone instantly uploads any pictures I take to this account.  I think, typically, move them to my Facebook Account or my blog.  It’s not that I have anything against Google +, it just doesn’t fill a need that hasn’t been satisfied elsewhere (ie. Facebook). Typing ‘Dan Wachal’ into Google does yield this profile as the top search result, so use it simply to maintain appearances.

Facebook: This is where I spend the majority of my online time and where the most detailed information about me is visible… to my friends. And that’s how I like it. Not that I have anything to hide really, but if you want to know some of the deeper details about me, I would at least like to have met you at some point.

Twitter: Twitter is perfect for making connections. I have used Twitter to build a network of peers that I trust in different fields. I also love being able to join global conversations (whether they be about educating students, sport, etc).

WordPress: I have found WordPress.com (the site that hosts this blog) to be very easy to use.  It has given me a platform for sharing my thoughts, ideas, understandings and musings. I also love the social aspect of being able to comment on others blogs, have them comment on my own. Though I haven’t used them, friends of mine have used Tumblr, Blogger, and Blogspot.  I imagine you get similar results with whoever you choose to go with.

LinkedIn: I started a LinkedIn account a number of months ago, but never really spent much time adding content to it. LinkedIn, as far as I can tell,  is a place where you can have a professional identity; sharing information related to schooling, work experience, skills, etc.  To me, it appears to be like an online resume. There may be more to this site, but I will likely check it only periodically until I’m a professional.  I keep this profile updated because I feel it would look terrible to have a profile on a site without anything on it.  If someone looks for me on the internet, I want everything they find about me to be a good representation of who I am.

Picasa: I haven’t used my Picasa account too often.  It, like my Google + account, instantly uploads pictures placed on my laptop onto the site, where they can be accessed from anywhere.  Handy in theory, but I actually haven’t spent anytime doing this.

About.Me: If it were possible, this is the site that I would want to show up as the first search result on any search engine.  My picture, a brief biography, and links to my blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts are readily available. What more could someone need??

I think it is important to maintain an online identity and if you have sites that hold empty profiles of yourself, I would recommend cleaning them up.  I want to be consistent wherever someone may find me.  If you do not think you have an online identity, think again. We all do, and it is important that we take control of what the internet is saying about us.  Have you found any other ‘social’ or ‘profile’ sites that you use regularly or think that I might benefit from using? I hope your weekend goes well. D.

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