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5 Reasons to Care About Your Online Presence, and 3 to Forget About It

5 Reasons to Care About Your Online Presence, and 3 to Forget About It

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    It’s gotten to the point that you just aren’t keeping up with the times if you don’t have a Facebook account, a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter feed and a presence on a dozen other websites. It can be crazy trying to keep up with all of it — and there are new social networking websites coming out every day. What can you do? It’s absolutely imperative that you’re on all of them, right?

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    Well, there are some clear benefits to spending time on all those websites that make up your online presence — but there are also plenty of drawbacks. It’s worth taking a look at the reasons you should care about creating social networking profiles and updating them, as well as considering the negative aspects of dealing with all of those sites.

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    5 Reasons to Care About Your Online Presence

    1. Employers and clients look for you online. While many of those people interested in offering you work are looking for your contact information and your references, plenty are looking for all the bad things about you that may have be listed online. Having social networking profiles can give you several pages that pop up on a Google search that are more or less under your control. They’re usually highly ranked and can help you show off your talents in a more recognizable format than a blog or personal website.
    2. You can make contacts and find friends online. Stories of long-lost friends reconnecting on Facebook and other websites are becoming common. And social networking sites don’t just limit you to friends you already know: they provide an easy forum to find business contacts without any requirement that you actually leave your home or office and go to a networking event.
    3. You can communicate even without contact information. Many important people in a variety of industries have at least a placeholder profile up on a variety of social networking website. And while you could never get a direct phone number for some of the people higher up the food chain, you can still easily send them a message on LinkedIn or whatever other website they frequent. It’s possible that some sort of assistant will review your message — but you can still get a lot closer to bigwigs via social networking.
    4. If you don’t claim your name on all the various social networking sites, someone might do it for you. Seth Godin, the author of numerous marketing books, provides a classic example: despite the fact that someone has claimed the name ‘sethgodin’ on Twitter, it wasn’t actually Godin (who blogged about the fact). In Godin’s case, the account was not used maliciously — but it also wasn’t a case of someone with the same name getting there first. If you don’t grab your name on every social network that pops up, you may not be so lucky. Someone could easily use such an account to spread false information or otherwise cause trouble.
    5. Everybody else is doing it. Peer pressure is a poor excuse — but if it’s becoming an industry standard in your field to have an online presence, not having one can be problematic in the long run. And if all of your friends stay in touch through a particular website, you certainly don’t want to get left out. Merely putting together a profile and updating it can be a small investment of your time, compared to not having the ability to connect to customers or friends online.

    3 Reasons to Forget About Your Online Presence

    1. Employers and customers don’t actually care that much about your social networking abilities. Sure, just about everyone will run a search on your name these days — but as long as they don’t find anything bad, it doesn’t particularly matter what they do find. If you have a particularly common name, you’re likely to get lost in the shuffle anyhow. You’ve got plenty of other ways to describe your abilities and connections, and you can probably do a better job of that fact than a standardized profile page.
    2. Putting too much information out there isn’t necessarily safe. Even assuming that identity thieves aren’t monitoring your every move through all your online accounts, telling your clients, family and everyone else every detail of your life just doesn’t sound like a good idea. There are so many horror stories about over-sharing, and having a thorough online presence just asks for such a story to happen to you.
    3. Social networking and crafting an online presence take a lot of time. If you get going, it isn’t hard to spend hours on a site like Twitter. You can call it networking or marketing, but either way, you’ve spent time that certainly could have been put to better use on trying to connect with the kids in your third grade class.

    Finding Some Balance

    It seems like social networking and online presences only have the value that we give them — and giving them too much value isn’t wise. That said, I think that maintaining a profile or two is a good idea. It’s worthwhile to grab your name on multiple sites, but I don’t bother with constantly updating every site I have a profile on. Instead they all point to either my website or the two sites that I do interact with regularly.

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    Like most things, caring about your online presence in moderation can be useful. It’s when a person tries to update every site under the sun that it becomes useless. It’s worth thinking about just what level of moderation makes sense for you.

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    The power of habit

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to make a reminder works for you

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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