Monday, April 11, 2011

Engaging Ourselves

Recently, I wrote a philosophy paper that applied Aristotle's theories of virtue and vice to internet behavior.  Looking back on things, I wish someone had warned all of us that the internet would come back to bite all of us in the butt. As a kid, I didn't think about what, why, or where I posted things. I acted in the moment and thought the "delete" button actually meant it would be erased. However, this is not the case anymore. Lucky for me, I don't have any "life threatening" information or photos floating on the web (that I am aware of...).

In chapter 13 of Brian Solis' Engaged, he talks about a variety of ways that we can brand ourselves on the internet. Before Solis dives into these branding methods, he warns about using cautious when posting information on the internet. Solis says, "Individuals who are currently employed are also at risk of losing their jobs based on their behavior on social networks and what they choose to share online" (Solis 165). Getting fired over what you share on the internet? I thought if I ever got fired it would be because of poor work, or always being late. Social technology is changing every aspect of our society. Solis also warns that "our contributions to the Web are indexed and archived for years to come" (Solis 164). It is crucial that we are very cautious about what we choose to post on the internet. For all you know, one post could land you in the unemployment line.

As we continue through Engage, Solis begins to teach us on "personal branding." Solis says, "We are now defined by the size of our social graph" (Solis 165). Our digital identity can be affected by our following. It is important that we develop our online selves with cautious by making sure we analyze every contribution to the internet. One tool that can really help define your online presense is a blog. Blogs allow for individuals to really let their voices shine through. Unlike social media networks, you can explicitly talk about interest, hobbies, or experiences.

In order to "brand" ourselves, we must get our voices heard. In class last week, we discussed how to use Google Insights and Ad Words to figure out what tags could be placed on our blogs to make them show up in search engines. Solis also encourages this and lists a number of websites that can help bloggers find better tags and terms to increase popularity.

Once we get an audience, how to interact with them? Solis provides an in-depth list of ways to successfully converse with your readers. Solis says:

1. Stick to your area of expertise and provide a unique perspective on what's going on

2. Post meaningful, respectful comments

3. Always think before posting - also, post timely

4. When disagreeing, keep it polite

Throughout the rest of chapter 17, Solis continues a detailed list of ways to keep healthy and efficient communication flowing through your social networks.

Overall, Solis provides a great starting point for branding, internet safety, and interaction. This chapter was especially enjoyable because it related to a lot of our recent in-class discussions. In addition, I know a number of kids in the class are doing personal branding projects, so this was probably helpful. Up until a few days ago, I never considered an online portfolio or personal branding. However, Solis has provided a substantial list of great reasons that I should take my skills to the internet. High five, technology.

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