My first manager at MassMutual told me, “When you’re here, you’re always on stage.” I’ve always thought about that and how at any time throughout the day, you may be in a meeting, walking through the halls, or on a conference call and how you speak, react, and present yourself is watched closely. The interesting thing about being on stage though is the risk or benefit to performing can all depend on your audience. Strangely enough, I understand the analogy in how it relates to being on stage with a band because of my experiences singing and performing there as well. The stage doesn’t have to be literal though and in fact, we’re all on stage right now. On the web, many of us have begun to utilize social media personally and professionally. I truly believe that a day is fast approaching where our online profiles will be the most valuable asset we have to presenting, marketing, and selling our skills, abilities, ethic, and personality. Recently I’ve been speaking to a few co-workers and classmates on leveraging web tools to build their own online profile and I challenge them to show themselves in a way that demonstrates what they have already done successfully as well as where they want to go. The one thing we all have in common is we all want to go somewhere. Wherever your somewhere is, I believe that having a good online profile can help you get there.
The first step in ‘owning’ yourself and being the master in how you are represented in an online world is to purchase a domain name. Which one should you purchase? Try ‘firstnamelastname.com’. Thousands, maybe millions, of people are already buying their personal domains in order to market themselves, and I believe it’s a critical component for career success. If you’re not experienced with domain purchasing or management, visit Network Solutions or Register.com. Buying a domain can run up to $10 per year and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find one that fits your name or requirement. Once you have a domain you’re satisfied with, you’re going to want to point or forward requests for your domain to another site. In my case, thomasconnery.com, goes directly to my WordPress blog where I not only share my posts but visitors can contact me or connect with me via multiple outlets. My Linked-In information is available there, Flickr feed, Twitter feed, Delicious.com links, etc. I like that I have a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to know a bit more about me that includs insight into what my skills and interests are. With my html and web design experience from the past, I was always toying with the idea of developing a custom landing page for my site. A place that could look professional, provide a brief summary that I could quickly change when needed, as well as link to the online social outlets I utilize. About.me answered that call!
About.me sums up their service by stating, “Sign up to quickly build your personal profile page that points users to your content from around the web.” They allow for a custom background image, transparent text blocks, and a simple way to connect to many social media tools. They’re even working on providing site statistics so you can find out how many hits your profile is getting and I’m sure as time goes on, it’s only going to get better. Do yourself a favor and find a good friend or family member who can take a great photo of you, sign up for an account, and add that picture to your profile. Next, add your bio snippet and connect to your own Linked-In account, Twitter account, or whatever. The photo, in my eyes, is the most important part. Visually you want to instantly appeal to whomever may be visiting your site or what you have to offer so if you need to or would like to, contact a professional photographer who can help you with a self-portrait. Oh…. I know one of course, you could try Jconn Photography. Need some ideas on how to setup your About.me profile? No problem, simply click their random profile button to bounce around to other About.me users. I’m sure once you’ve seen a handful of profiles, you’ll know exactly what you want to do with your own profile. On Friday, 2/25/2011, I will be pointing my personal domain to my About.me profile at: http://about.me/thomasconnery and I’m thinking I may be leaving it this way for quite some time. I will most definelty experiement with different profile photos as I like to add some flavor to my life, my stage, my adventure. For me, this is the new business card where my card would read one thing, thomasconnery.com and when that person who recieved my card visits my site, they get everything I am and everything I choose to share.