ALC203- THE ONLINE ME: MY VISION FOR THE FUTURE

This blog post is in response to: What you hope to achieve in establishing/expanding an online persona in future weeks and months

An online persona, can be described as the way an individual portrays themselves in the online world. Online personas are an element of an individual’s identity ‘that has been extended into the online sphere’ (Kerckove & Almeida 2013, p.1). A digitally constructed identity can be formed through partial identities and in its simplest terms an online identity is ‘the sum of your characteristics and interactions’ (The Internet Society 2011, p.1). The idea of identity has not steered far from the idea of being ‘the process of knowing oneself’ (Poletti & Rak 2014, p.8), but the internet has certainly invented new ways for us to represent our identities. It may not reflect a person’s true identity but it is the representation of how one wishes to be perceived online. It defines what a user wants to be known for, the way they showcase themselves in the digital sphere and the kind of impression that is imprinted in another user’s mind. Becoming an active digital citizen with a strong online identity is one of the most important tools to unlock success, open new doors and remain relevant, to an extent.

social-media

Instagram and other Social Media Apps
(http://fli.kr/p/d41HES) by Jason Howie (CC BY 2.0)

In this digital age, I feel as though there is less suspense. Waiting for a personality to unfold at work is not on the cards for employers anymore. To make recruiting easier, employers can now simply scan applicant’s social media profiles and judge an individual on their social media stance. Though there are scholarly debates on whether or not employers should be scanning social profiles, they are. Job hunters who have created a captivating, varied, digital footprint are ‘more attractive to employers and recruiters than those who have little or no online presence’ (Guiseppi 2016, p.2). As a public relations student, who is aspiring to leap into the world of professional communication, I believe it’s important for me to develop a strong online presence. The world of PR is changing rapidly, I have no doubt future employers will assess if I communicate effectively online and how tech-savvy I am. As mentioned in Michael Rainey’s article, if a candidate is applying for a communication role, it’s more than likely the employer will look through their social media profiles to check if they are suited to the job description (Rainey 2012, p.6).

I have opened my mind to the idea of a career as a social media manager, but of course, that’s later down the track. However, now is the perfect time for me to start thinking about actively promoting my personal brand through my social media platforms. A personal brand consists of showcasing a person’s unique qualities, characteristics and strengths (Kociaj & Nunaj et al., 2016, p.1). As a student, promoting my personal brand on social media is a strategy to gain exposure and stand out to employers online. Hood, Robles & Hopkins (2014, p.1) argue ‘personal branding is important to recruiters and employers when hiring job candidates…’. I have chosen to expand my online persona because we live in a technological world, a strong online reputation is crucial when job hunting. I hope to increase my visibility online and use social media to promote my own brand, showcase my skills and create a stronger online identity which represents my offline identity. As an aspiring public relations practitioner, a strong online presence is vital. It’s not something you can live without in today’s society.

my-online-persona-2016

‘Myonlinepersona’ created with Easel.ly

“Networking” Photo taken by Tara Lupus, 8 December 2016

As I’m responding a very forward thinking question about what I hope to achieve in future weeks and months, my visual representation represents my futuristic plan of managing online personas through six networking platforms. After analysing my own online identity, I’ve realised I am not consistent across my platforms. If social media is a turning point for employers, I want to showcase my skills online and demonstrate my ability to engage online effectively through multiple platforms. This can’t all happen overnight, so I’ve created a plan that is quite structured, but hopefully it will become a natural routine in the coming weeks. The point of creating this plan is so I can demonstrate consistency online and explore new ways of communicating. I hope to maintain my online personas across multiple platforms and post regularly in a professional manner. Soumitra Dutta’s article ‘What’s Your Personal Social Media Strategy?’ provides a guide for individuals who wish to understand the different platforms one can use to develop different online presences. I found his article useful, it helped me to understand how I would like my future persona to take shape. It made me think about the platforms I use and how they can be categorized: professional and public, personal and public, professional and private and personal and private (Dutta 2010, p.3).

The two recent significant changes I have made in relation to my expanding my online persona are becoming active on Twitter and creating a WordPress account. During the break between Trimester 2 and 3, I decided it was time for me to construct a stronger twitter presence. I invested time into updating my twitter profile and following users, I went from roughly 30 followers to currently 188 followers. Over the past few weeks, I’ve only started focusing on Twitter and responding to tweets. To help boost my online identity, I linked my WordPress blog to my twitter profile and started embedding links to my blogs in tweets. By doing this, it’s another opportunity for me to showcase my work. Overtime, I hope to gain a wider audience base on Twitter, more confidence and exploration with tweeting self-generated content. The photograph featured as my cover photo was taken by me, adding my personalised touch.

twitter-profile

“My Twitter Profile” Photo taken by Tara Lupus, 8 December 2016.

Tweets embedded from my @taralupus profile.

As a PR student, it’s important to publish and share my work, it shows a level of confidence. The blog is dedicated to anything I feel like writing write about. I have started blogging, but my next goal is to aim for consistency and maintain it. Blogging once a week on a certain day will be achievable for me. Hudson (2008, p.11) argues ‘blogs are online journals or diaries in which individuals can post entries about subjects which interest them most’. My tagline “Thoughts and ideas can be preserved forever” denotes Hudson’s idea of an online journal, where my own ideas and thoughts can be recorded digitally. I’ve entered the blogosphere to gain more confidence with my writing and share my ideas with the online world, increasing my visibility.

screenshot-of-blog

Screenshot of ‘agirlwithadigitalquill’, https://agirlwithadigitalquill.wordpress.com/ , retrieved 9 December 2016

So there you have it, you have now seen my vision for the future online me. In the past, I hadn’t really thought of how social media and my online persona could assist with promoting my personal brand. I’m ready to dive into the digital sphere and create meaningful content across six platforms. We all have a personal brand, but it’s up to us to create, shape and transform it.

I created a video to complement this blog post. Check it out below!

My video ‘ALC203: I wanted to create a video to complement my blog’, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiQYmTLqll8, retrieved 12 December 2016.

(Word count: 1,085)

Reference List

Dutta, S 2010, ‘What’s Your Personal Social Media Strategy ?’, Harvard Business Review, vol.88, Issue 11, pp.127-130, retrieved 6 December 2016, <http://myadvantage.com.au/getattachment/2ab53b44-4163-4e6f-8140-67d8517870c9/What-s-Your-Personal-Social-Media-Strategy.aspx>.

Guiseppi, M 2016, ‘Mind Your Online Reputation: The Personal Branding Social Proof Paradigm and Two Little-Known Ways To Master It’, Career Planning & Adult Development Journal, vol.32, Issue 2, pp.101-106, retrieved 7 December 2016, Education Source database, EBSCOhost.

Hood, K, Robles, M & Hopkins, C 2014, ‘Personal Branding and Social Media for student’s in today’s competitive job market’, Journal for Research and in Business Education, vol.56, Issue 2, pp.33-47, retrieved 10 December 2016, Education Source database.

Hudson, D 2008, Blogging, Chelsea House Publishers, retrieved 6 December 2016, DEAKIN UNIV LIBRARY’s Catalog database.

Internet Society 2011, Understanding your Online Identity: An Overview of Identity, Internet Society, retrieved 10 December 2016, < http://www.internetsociety.org/understanding-your-online-identity-overview-identity>.

Kerckove D, & Almeida C 2013, ‘What is a digital persona?’, Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 227-287, doi: 1386/tear.11.3.277_1

Kociaj, J, Nunjai, T, Hysi, V, & Kutroilli, M 2016, ‘Personal Branding Perception by Albanian Students’, International Journal of Global Business, vol.9, Issue.1, pp.74-92, retrieved 10 December 2016, Business Source Complete database.

Poletti, A & Rak, J 2014, ‘Introduction: digital dialogues’, in A, Poletti & J Rak (eds), Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp.3-22 retrieved 10 December 2016, DEAKIN UNIV LIBRARY’s Catalog.

Rainey, M 2012, ‘Social Media Background Checks: How Your Facebook and Twitter accounts can cost you a job’, INSIGHT into Diversity, vol. 78, Issue 6, p.6-7, retrieved 10 December 2016, Business Source Complete database.

My broader online activity:

Over the weeks, I have regularly engaged with other ALC203 students by ‘liking’, commenting and participating in two-way dialogue. I tweeted about a tram experience, I had both traditional and digital media around me. I shared two blog posts through my Twitter, in relation to study response questions, incorporating the #ALC203 hashtag into the tweets. Click here for blog 1 and here for blog 2. For the #alcselfie challenge, I uploaded my festive selfie. Whilst my Twitter presence has certainly increased over the weeks, I believe my interactivity with the unit could be greater.

(Word count: 94)

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