Developing the Online You: What is Your Purpose?

Developing your online presence is an art form.  Ultimately, it is shaped by your  purpose for being online in the first place.  Are you hoping to share your experiences? Create discussions around opinions? Develop a clientele? Sell a product?  Maybe it is a mix of several of the above.  This is the first in a series of five posts designed to help you develop your online presence. Let’s start by considering what it is and why you want one?

Your online presence is how active you are on the web through personal and professional websites, blogs, tweets, published articles, photos, forums, etc. If you are not creating your own online presence, one if probably being created for you.  Consider the following quote by Marcos Salazar on August 13th 2009:

“Everything we post, comment on, or upload is contributing to the story of who we are online – potentially to millions. And even if you don’t make a conscious effort to create an online presence, that too is a narrative because you are leaving your personal brand to chance.”

Most people begin to strategically develop their online presence when they want to:

  • Be Competitive: You can’t afford not to anymore
  • Extend Their Reach: Meet and connect with people all over the world
  • Experience Personal Growth: Engage in personal/professional development, self-management and networking
  • Increase Visibility: Leverage your value across a variety of media. Enhance your recognition as an expert in the field, build credibility and advance your career
  • Collaborate: Share new ideas, discuss, & work together

Before you do too much, take some time to think about what you want your online image to be. If it is helpful, use the following questions as a guide.

  • How do you want others to perceive you?
  • How personal / professional do you want to be?
  • Are there any industry standards?
  • What do you hope to gain?

Answering these questions can serve as a good starting point to developing your online image. Remember that the answers to these questions are not static, but are likely to change as your needs, experiences, and personal/professional goals change. Be thoughtful, have fun, and get started!

6 thoughts on “Developing the Online You: What is Your Purpose?

  1. Thanks for including my post in your list of related articles, it introduced me to your blog! I look forward to exploring your articles on parenting teens.

  2. Hi Shelly – will you share your slides from your presentation at AEA? Thanks! I really enjoyed your talk.

  3. Well written article on developing your online presence. Everything you share online should be about what you are and have to offer. As with helping people as you do, it is apparent just by merrily glancing at your blog and reading your tweets.

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