So why did I start this blog? Well, it’s a part of my assessment with the unit Exploring Digital Media: Contexts of Online Participation (ALC203) but more importantly, I am using this blog as a platform to launch my online identity. One of the first tasks that we received was to google our names and see how difficult it was to find ourselves and I noticed that many of the people around me were the first result when googling themselves and yet I was nowhere to be found on my own. This got me thinking about the direction that this world is moving and how important it is to have your own online identity not only as an animation student with an online portfolio but just as a regular person who wants to improve the way that they are perceived online. So, this blog post will essentially be talking about a lot of the things I’ve learnt so far in what I call and the basic steps ‘My Journey to the First Page of Google results’.
Look at what you have.
The first thing I looked to evaluate was the platforms I used and how I represented myself on them.
I started with my primary source of social media which was Facebook and I viewed my profile from the perspective of a friend and them from a non-friend. The first thing I noticed was besides being tagged in photos by friends and family, there was no real content being displayed on there. No one could come to my Facebook and find out what I have been doing or my opinions on things, it was a bland page. Next, I moved on to Instagram, which is one of my more open accounts. I found that while the content being displayed there was worth posting and engaging for viewers to look at, there were only eight photos posted in total and almost all my followers were from my Facebook friends. The third and final social media platform I used was Snapchat, this is harder to analyse as there is no available record showing what kind of content you have posted. So, I just began taking note of the kinds of things I was more inclined to post and found that it is ninety percent just snaps of me drinking alcohol.
To say that my online identity was lacklustre would be an understatement and on top of all that, there are still many primary forms of social media that were missing from my belt (Notably Twitter and WordPress). There is almost nothing about who I am on any of these platforms and the things that people would see are not the kinds of things I want representing me. Which brings me to
Analysing successful social media stars
One of the best ways to learn something is to watch someone else do it. Or at least that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 14 years of my schooling career. We live in an age where celebrities can be born exclusively from social media without having to star in a film, sing or have royal blood. In fact, most online celebrities are just general entertainers but they all started from somewhere.
Take for instance famous YouTuber Burnie Burns he launched a successful business entirely through online content before it was even though possible. His now 14-year running business has spun off many different shows and even bought out other successful entertainment companies (Rooster Teeth, 2017).
One of the pieces of advice given by Burns was given in an interview with Indie Wire
“I feel like we always kept our core philosophy of making content that we would wanna watch…”
-Michael (Burnie) Burns 2016 (Miller, 2016)
I took this to heart and tried posting, tweeting and snapping things that I wish would show up in my own feed. Every time a short video or post popped up that I enjoyed, I saved it to my phone for later viewing.
A few weeks ago, I posted a poll on twitter:
While the results of this poll were slightly surprising since I was unaware of Instagram’s reach, I think the question was slightly misguided. I was attempting to find ‘the social media platform’ when I actuality, it is a flowing river of information. This is when I realised I had to link all my different profile as a network and as one unified experience. You can now find each of my social media platforms in the about or description of my profile.
Creating the content
Not only is creating content a challenge but finding the correct platform to express that content is difficult. But my general rule of thumb is Twitter for sporadic thoughts, WordPress for lengthy ideas and in-depth thoughts, Facebook for things relevant to my friends and family, Snapchat for updates on notable things I’m doing and Instagram for photos of landscapes and my friends. These are not set in stone rules but I would consider them good guidelines for when I create content and where I would like to post it.
I started this process around 4 weeks ago at this point and I have found that the more I do it, the more find myself just actively involving myself in the social media world around me. While I cannot say that the progress I’ve made so far has been leaps and bounds ahead of where I was a month ago, I can say that every minor change or improvement I start making on my online identity will improve the overall feel to my online identity and maybe even one day, take me to the front page of google. I advise everyone reading this to google themselves and see what information they can find about themselves (if any at all) and reflect upon that by asking if that’s how they want to be viewed.
Roosterteeth.com. (2017). About | Rooster Teeth. [online] Available at: https://roosterteeth.com/about/home [Accessed 1 Apr. 2017].
Miller, L. (2016). Rooster Teeth’s Burnie Burns on Making ‘Lazer Team’ As a Gateway Drug. [online] IndieWire. Available at: http://www.indiewire.com/2016/02/rooster-teeths-burnie-burns-on-making-lazer-team-as-a-gateway-drug-65715/ [Accessed 1 Apr. 2017].
Chalkley, T., Hobbs, M., Brown, A., Cinque, T., Warren, B. and Finn, M. (2011). Communication, digital media + everyday life. 2nd ed.