Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Educator's Guide to Developing a Professional Online Presence

By Dr. Will Deyamport, III

I meet educators all the time who want very little to do with the internet. Outside of email or Facebook to keep up with friends and family, they see the internet as just something else they need to learn and occupy time they don’t have. But the reality is the internet and web tools and social technologies aren’t going away. Whether you make a conscious effort or not, people and future employers are still going to Google you. So why not put in a little work towards shaping what people will see when they do Google you?
This post is a quick 3 step guideline for pre-service or veteran educators for beginning the process of developing a professional online presence, which is and will be more marketable for you than any business card or binder or portfolio.
Standard Photo
This means using the same photo across multiple platforms. What you want is a consistent, professional online identity. When people Google you, you want them to see the same professional on Twitter as they see on Linkedin. This is not to say that you can’t post any other photos of yourself. By all means share photos of you at conferences, giving guest lectures, facilitating workshops, or even interesting photos of you on vacation. But make sure that your profile photo on different social networks is the same, and never post pictures can compromise your reputation. What you are trying to avoid is sending a mixed message about who you are, what you are, and what you bring to the table.
Contribute to the Discussion
Starting a blog, becoming a guest blogger, vlogging, or creating videos for Youtube or Vimeo are excellent examples of you contributing to the discussion. What you want to do is produce online content that presents your experience and skill-set in your area(s) of expertise. For example, you can write a bi-weekly or monthly post about what you are doing in your classroom. You can also vlog about issues you are passionate about. You can even create tutorials or post videos of your conference presentations. The point is to position yourself as an expert in your field.
Find “Your” Social Network(s)
Don’t join a network because you hear it is the hotness. Finding “your” social network is about you discovering the social network that is the right fit for you – a network that matches your social and informational needs. Do your research and get a feel for the educators on the site as well as the time commitment needed to cultivate the type of networking and relationship-building you want to do. Not every social networking site was created equal. Do you and don’t feel pressured to be on everything.
About the author: Dr. Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D. is an eLeader who specializes in digital learning and development. His research is in technology leadership and using web tools and social technologies for professional development, teaching and learning, and social good. 

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