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!


Author: Shelly D Mahon

I have been working with families and teens for almost 20 years, and teaching in a university setting since the year 2000. My commitment is that parents have the support and resources they need to take care of themselves and foster the growth and development of their children. ABOUT ME I have a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) and over 20 years of experience working with youth and families. No matter what your family structure, I am committed to helping you make your family work. I can guid you in effectively managing divorce, strengthening parent-child relationships, embracing the teenage years, reducing risks and increasing resiliency in your families. If fostering the growth and development of your children is important to you, I am committed to working with you. APART, NOT BROKEN: LEARN, CONNECT, & CREATE! Apart, Not Broken is for divorced or separated parents who want to: Move past fear, pain, & guilt Create the life they want with their child Manage their relationship with their ex Contribute to others Be the creator of their future The program gives you a place to: Learn: Hear others real experiences and insights. Receive information and recommendations that can make a measurable difference in adjusting and parenting after separation or divorce. Connect: Join an online community. Learn to use creative strategies to connect with your child and manage your relationship with their ex-partner. Create: Feel powerful in your ability to be the parent YOU want to be. Create the relationship YOU want with their child by building on existing strengths, starting new traditions, and creating lasting memories. This program has: – Videos reflecting real life experiences; – Online tools for sharing photos, comparing calendars, communicating, and more; – Current & concise information about divorce & parenting after divorce; – Engaging activities to enjoy with their child; & – Additional resources to build their own parenting toolbox. Happy Parenting, Shelly I took my first Human Development and Family Studies course as an undergraduate at 18 years old. This was the beginning of a lifetime love and commitment to this field. I have another online program Parenting Through Middle School. I am the mother of two teens myself. This has been an interesting journey and quite the adventure. Over the years, I have learned that parenting takes a lot of energy, but it is well worth the effort. To me, parenting brings to life an ever-changing spectrum of human emotion. It is filled with moments of love, excitement, anticipation, expectations, fears, hopes, and dreams. It has made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time! Just when I think I have everything figured out, my children change. In these moments I realize that I too must change. As they grow, I find myself looking for the balance between teaching them my values, beliefs, and interests and helping them discover and develop into their own unique individual characters. I love to exercise, eat well, sing and play my piano. My favorite sports are running, mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding, yoga, Pilates, and most recently, road biking. Happy Parenting! Shelly

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

  1. 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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