Now what?

Ruth Rushworth online

My online presence

To conclude the first module of DH23Things Your Online Presence: Promoting,  Networking and Communicating we were asked to review the previous six blogs and draw up a strategy for maintaining and preserving our online presence. As I’m sure is the case for many digital people, the thought of drawing up a map of my online presence via an infographic seemed like a lot of effort. I stuck instead to trusty sticky notes, pen and paper. I jotted this down in a few minutes, so excuse the untidy handwriting which is probably illegible.

Tellingly, I headed the paper ‘rhr32 online presence’; rhr32 being my email identifier at Cambridge. Rather than implying a total identification with rhr32 over my name I hope this was because my online presence is essentially professional. I divided the platforms into professional and personal: professional being LinkedIn, company’s websites, articles, Storify, academia.edu. On the line between professional and personal (in what would have been the overlap in a Venn diagram) I have Twitter and Facebook, both of which I operate as myself and as CRASSH. I wasn’t sure where to locate this blog and placed it on the personal side because it is a space for my professional development unaffiliated to an employer. On the other hand I haven’t yet been my personal self on here – the person who reads a lot, listens and plays music and all that. For me though my job is the main reason to be on these platforms so maintaining a professional persona seems wise.

My biggest challenge in building up an online presence is that I already spend so much time on these platforms representing CRASSH which doesn’t leave much time or space for just being me on them and also means what I do do on these platforms can become tangled. I like how Facebook offers you the opportunity to switch voice – so I don’t comment on friends’ photos as CRASSH or on CRASSH as myself. A gap I should explore to build up my online presence without the demands of having to create content is curation via, for example, Pinterest or Scoop.it.

The main tools I will use to represent myself professionally will continue to be company websites (CRASSH, previous employers), LinkedIn and Twitter. Academia.edu remains a dormant site which just signals my job at CRASSH while Facebook remains private. My aim in having an online presence is to enable me to join up my career between jobs so that if I were ever to leave CRASSH (and why would I do that?!) I can create some continuity and retain control over some content and connections. That has been the most valuable lesson for me of Module One: that it is not enough to rely on my employer to manage my online identity but I need to take ownership of it.

But what now for this blog? I suspect it will lie dormant until DH23Things Module Two or even until Module 3 which is on videos, podcasts, presentations and creating digital content. I will though start to blog for smke.org shortly and for CRASSH in the future once I’ve relaunched its website. I am tempted to use this blog in a more personal capacity to keep a diary of books I’ve read and what I thought of them, but I worry that would quickly become quite an arduous task. Writing one blog post a week for this programme has been surprisingly tough! Other platforms like Twitter are easily to interact on and make the interaction the activity, whereas a blog does require content creation which (usually) requires prior thought and reflection.

Lastly, I didn’t want to end module one without thanking Helen for running this fascinating programme. Thank you Helen for DH23 so far and all your comments!

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