Establishing a non-anonymous web presence

I have been thinking about the wisdom of establishing some kind of professional (or professionally appropriate) web presence to provide evidence that I can actually use the Internet. Because I started using the Internet as a teenager in the ’90s, well before Facebook and even blogs, I have issues with putting my full name on anything I post online. Back then, the Internet was for whiny, anonymous journals published on hand-coded websites. My very first web site was published on Geocities and had a Winnie the Pooh theme, but within a year or two my secret online diaries were mostly decorated with photographs by Cindy Sherman or album cover art manipulated in Paint Shop Pro. But I digress.

At any rate, while my HTML/CSS/etc. skills are no longer cutting edge, I am pretty familiar with just about every blogging platform. I have a Twitter account, although it’s private, and I mostly use it to complain about my neighbors or record funny things my boyfriend says. Of course, I have Facebook and Google Plus profiles under my real name, but there is very little that anyone can see there unless they’re friends with me, and I keep telling myself I might just delete my Facebook profile (again) once I’m forced to adopt the new Timeline. But there isn’t really any proof of my Internet prowess that I’d want to show someone who might hire me; it’s not that I’m not or can’t be professional, I’m just not yet used to using the Internet as a professional platform.

I do have a Linkedin profile. Today, I edited my profile so that my headline (or whatever it’s called) reflects the work I want to be doing, rather than the college teaching I actually am doing now. So, I guess that’s a start. I only have a few connections there, so perhaps I’ll figure out how I can better use that site.

I might start a Twitter account under my full name and use it to, I don’t know, comment on stuff and retweet things that aren’t totally silly.

While I’m already really skilled at coming up with ideas for blogs and then never starting them or abandoning them after three entries, I may start (another) new blog. My question here is, how much does content matter? I’d like this blog to provide writing samples, to show that I Have a Web Presence and am not a weird Generation X/Y/wherever-I-fit luddite. Maybe I could attach my résumé to this site? I don’t want to write a particularly serious or academic blog with posts roughly related to my research because, ugh, who even cares? I was already thinking about starting a blog about being a late twenty-something who is finally trying to get her shit together and figure out makeup, since this has really been my primary hobby for the past three or four months. Or I could blog about the books I occasionally manage to read for fun, or movies I watch, or about my other hobbies (knitting, genealogy). Obviously, this blog would have to avoid being too personal or too much like a diary (always something I kind of struggle with, because I always want to fall back into journal-mode when I’m blogging). But should I avoid writing about something too inconsequential? I assume employers would be more interested in the quality of writing, the voice, the ability to speak to a particular audience, even if said employer isn’t part of a field that matches my particular subject matter. But maybe I’m wrong.

I’m also thinking about submitting pieces to various websites, just short essays, so that I have something published that I can use for clips when I’m job-hunting.


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