If you haven’t, why not? Do you fit into one or more of these categories?
- You know you need it but haven’t had the time to do anything about it.
- You know you need it but lack the skills and confidence do anything about it.
- You are a technophobe and wouldn’t know what having an online presence even means.
- You are debating whether the effort is worth the return.
- You dislike social media…all that self-promotion makes you feel uncomfortable.
- You think there’s already too much material of questionable value and quality online and you don’t want to add to it.
- You distrust social media and feel out of your depth and potentially at risk in this environment.
- You just prefer privacy and anonymity.
- You are a computer hacker or a government secret squirrel (or both) and having an online profile is generally a bad idea.
Whatever your position is, I think it’s sensible to take steps to ensure that, whether you choose to be ‘online’ or ‘offline’ that this is an informed choice and that you are wholly aware of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of your choice.
I can’t claim the moral high ground on this. I personally have a ‘minimal’ web presence which is easily achieved but is, for the most part, indifferently managed. I have a Linkedin Profile for professional purposes and also use Facebook to connect with family and close friends. In the workplace context, I blog once a month as do my work colleagues (https://viccareers.com/).
This minimalist approach works for me because I am a Careers Consultant and well-established in my profession. If I were newly qualified or a designer, artist, writer, actor or engineer, LinkedIn and Facebook would be insufficient. A way to present my work and accomplishments online would be essential and a prerequisite to access employment, business opportunities, and clients. So you may need to take the plunge.
I have been thinking about how to make it easy to get started. Good old Youtube (aged nine, not even a teen, but old in ‘web-years’) is proving to be heroic in this regard. A quick search revealed a gem, a series of ‘how to’ tutorials that seem current and easy to follow: https://www.youtube.com/user/500socialmediatips
For those of you who are still at the stage of asking “Really?” and “Must I?” or thinking “I really need to hear the business case”, start with link at the end of this paragraph. Some facts and figures about how individuals and employers are using the internet to connect could change your mind. If you are ‘off-grid’ because you want to be, that is of course your choice. I understand your position. When I hear stories about identity theft and the unsavoury and criminal activities of those operating within the ‘deep web’, I’m reminded that being on line isn’t without risk. Even with a minimal web presence, being aware of what information you share in the internet space is essential if you are to remain safe. But most of us have to work and if an employer can find no trace of you as a prospective employee on the web…then maybe they’ll think that you are digitally challenged…or have something to hide…or you simply don’t exist?