On this blog, I've done a lot of talking about online social media—partly because it's an important aspect of job searching, and partly because I'm so fascinated by it. But all the options become a little overwhelming sometimes, don't they? I thought maybe if I wrote about my various online presences, it might start to make a little more sense to me (and you).
First there's the blog. I keep the blog very narrowly focused on its topic: careers in book publishing. Very rarely I'll stray into something tangential, but not too far afield. I think everyone agrees that a well-written, professionally focused blog can only help your career efforts. It can raise your profile and make you an instant "expert." And if you blog most weekdays, you can really get great search engine visibility.
Then there's LinkedIn. Every professional should have a profile on LinkedIn. It should put forward your most important experience and accomplishments and be able to stand in as your resume, if necessary, because some people will judge you by it. When choosing contacts to link to, I now skew toward job-related contacts. True, you never know where an opportunity will come from, but LinkedIn has become less of a social sphere and more of a get-down-to-business place. I'm not using the built-in apps much anymore. TripIt tells me when Joe Wikert is going on a trip (which is, like, all the time), but that's about all. The discussion boards seem to be way too busy with people who want something.
Next comes Twitter. I joined it really just to keep up on the information that the experts were putting out on it—usually tiny tidbits that might not be worth a blog post, but still quite enlightening all the same. Often Twitter is my first heads-up to information that blossoms into bigger news—for example, the recent Gannett layoffs. I occasionally retweet the most compelling info I see related to publishing and/or careers, especially if it's relevant to Indianapolis. Without even trying, I've got 123 followers (if you want to be one, find me at @loricateshand). Hope I don't bore them!
Might as well mention Plaxo here. I fixed it so all my blog posts get put into Plaxo. But I'm no longer updating my status there or actively checking it. But it's there if I need to contact any of my connections there.
Last, of course, is Facebook. I resisted joining because I knew it would derail my life. And it has. I often catch myself narrating Facebook threads to my husband and others, and wonder just how crazy I sound. All the experts warn against putting things on Facebook that will destroy your career. But here is the place where I let my real personality show—as much as I dare. Yeah, so, I'm a closet Trekkie. I like British music. I dote on my kid. If someone doesn't want to hire me because of all that, so be it. I also feed my blog posts into Facebook, and I get a lot of comments there from publishing friends who wouldn't have read the blog otherwise. But mainly, it's the place where I have found all my lost best friends and am holding pinkies with them in cyberspace.
So where does this leave us? I don't know. I'm sure I could be managing all of this better. I know that the blog has suffered from a little neglect since I found Facebook and Twitter. I'm sure there's another social media outlet that I am not using but should be. But this is where I am right now.