I have heard educators say they do not want to be on the Internet. They do not make Facebook accounts, Tweet or do other things to have a presence on the web. We are on the Internet whether we want to be or not. Who do you want to write the story of what people see when they search you, and people ARE searching you. Steve Hargadon and myself have been working on the idea of a PWP – Personal Web Presence.
Your Personal Web Presence (PWP) is the message you want to convey with your online presence. What you are passionate about and being intentional about that coming across in your web presence. Your PWP starts with you having a website that is about you and by you. Most likely a blog. When someone visits your PWP it conveys a very specific message about who you are and that message is controlled by you. The more you post to your PWP and keep it updated increases the liklihood of people searching for you finding articles about you and by you. You are already aware of my PWP, alicekeeler.com, since you are reading this article. There is no mistaking what my passions are when you visit my website. Check out Steve Hargadon’s PWP: http://www.stevehargadon.com/
Having your own site that tells about you builds credibility for you around your passion. The PWP demonstrates what you excel at in the most flattering way, since you create it. The PWP connects you to others who may not know about you, but have similar interests. When you post your ideas and passions for a public audience you write differently. This process helps you to reflect and grow in your passion area.
One way to establish a strong PWP is to brand yourself with a web address that reflects you. If possible, try to use your name. You may also have something you use that brands you, like @coolcatteacher who has coolcatteacher.com.
Beyond the PWP
Your PWP is not the only piece of your Personal Web Presence. Intentionally sign up for communities, social media, and other spaces that help you to be recognized around your passion. Sign up for accounts with the same username. Participate in discussion boards, posting pins and creating tweets that demonstrate who you are. The more places you are participating, the more your words and your message come through. When someone is searching for you, they find YOU, not what others are saying about you.
Beyond My PWP
Beyond my website I participate in other places under my brand of “Alice Keeler.” I want people to know I am a passionate educator and that I use technology to transform learning spaces. Using an incognito window, to ensure my metadata is not influencing the search results, I conducted a search of myself.
The first results are my PWP (blog) and my Twitter presence. The images below are all images I personally uploaded in places around the web.
The next set of links are all things I had control over existing. My Google Plus account, the Amazon page listing the book I wrote with Dr. Libbi Miller, my YouTube channel, a blog post by Google about me where I was interviewed, and my LinkedIn profile.
Everything on the first page of a search about me is things that I have worked to curate to display a positive image about me. All of the links will give you the impression that I am an educator and into technology. On the second page of results you will find something similar. Either articles I have written, links to accounts I have created, or articles others have written about me with my permission and quotes.
By actively maintaining a Personal Web Presence I am able to ensure that my best foot is forward when people look me up.
Tips for Establishing Your PWP
- Develop your brand: Decide what you want others to know about you (Philbrick & Cleveland, 2015).
- Understand your message: Be introspective (North & Jason Oliver, 2014; Philbrick & Cleveland, 2015). What are you passionate about? How will you grow your PLN?
- Counter other messages: Information about you may already exist, be aware of what it is and actively establish a presence to speak louder (Philbrick & Cleveland, 2015).
- Choose a Platform: Determine which platform will allow you to organize your ideas and share about who you are (North & Jason Oliver, 2014). Wix, WordPress, Weebly, Google Sites, or other platform that allows you to contribute multiple pieces of information about what you’re about.
- Be online frequently: You want current information coming up when being searched. Being online can shape who you are, what you interact with and who you interact with can have positive (or negative) to help grow and shape your ideas (Ng, 2015).
- Include digital elements: Included in search results are images and videos. Be intentional about including images and digital elements in your overall PWP (Joshi, 2015; North & Jason Oliver, 2014).
- Be on multiple platforms: Your web presence goes beyond posting on Facebook. Establish your Personal Web Presence in multiple places where people may look for you (North & Jason Oliver, 2014). Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Teacher 2.0, discussion boards, web 2.0 tools, etc…
- Do not be anonymous: Establish your message with your words that come from you (Osborne & Connelly, 2015). Create accounts with a consistent name and use your name.
- Engage with others: Interacting with others digitally provides additional opportunities for you to represent who you are. More importantly, engaging with others can provide you with new ideas and resources (Terrell, 2004; Young, 2014).
- Provide information about yourself: On your PWP, determine what information you want to share (Terrell, 2014). Resume, resources, presentations or conference appearances, professional memberships, degrees, etc…
Ng, W. (2015). Digital Literacy: The Overarching Element for Successful Technology Integration. In New Digital Technology in Education (pp. 125-145). Springer International Publishing.
North, S., & Jason Oliver, J. (2014). A strategic look at how to extend your digital footprint. Strategic Direction, 30(7), 1-3.
Osborne, N., & Connelly, L. (2015, July). Managing Your Digital Footprint: Possible Implications for Teaching and Learning. In Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Social Media 2015: ECSM 2015 (p. 354 – 361). Academic Conferences Limited.
Philbrick, J. L., & Cleveland, A. D. (2015). Personal Branding: Building Your Pathway to Professional Success. Medical reference services quarterly, 34(2), 181-189.
Terrell, S. (2014). Establish a Web Presence. The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching, 78.
Young, D. (2014). A 21st-Century Model for Teaching Digital Citizenship.Educational Horizons, 92(3), 9-12.