The key point I took home from this assignment was that it is very important to be able to know how to control what information about yourself is available on the internet, especially if you are trying to create and maintain a professional identity. It is important to be aware of how many people have access to potentially personal information if you don’t know how to correctly control the information you or others put on the internet.
I was a little surprised, at first, when I had to Google my name. I didn’t expect anything to come up, but found that the internet had quite a lot to say about “Lizz Wood.” The information that came up was mostly about my sports career, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not something I’d go out of my way to associate with my professional identity as it’s not really that relevant. More of a concern to me was that there are many other Liz/Lizz/Elizabeth Wood’s out there that I would not want to be associated with. I therefore learned the importance of creating a professional identity that will not be mistaken for someone who isn’t me.
Throughout the process of completing this activity, I learned various ways to organize information about myself on the web. One idea I found interesting was to create different names or accounts for different sides of yourself. For example, I may eventually create a Facebook account for friends and family, and one for professional networking. This is an excellent way to separate personal and professional life while still remaining active in both areas. Developing a pseudonym is another way to achieve this. This is what I decided to do for my web page. I have decided that all my professionally-related work will be listed under the name elizabeth.marygrace, which means my Facebook and MySpaces accounts, which are both under the name Elizabeth Wood, will hopefully not be associated with this pseudonym, unless I choose for them to be at some point.
Conversely, I would like to be given credit for all of my work. I therefore learned the importance of creating a data trail, so that all my work can be found and recognized as my own. This can be achieved by linking all professional sites and accounts together. I think a good example of this can be seen in the music industry. At shows, bands often hand out cards with their official site, as well as their MySpace, Facebook and YouTube accounts listed on it. This makes it easy for fans to know where they can get official, reliable information from the band itself instead of being mislead by many other fan sites. I think this also gives a sort of professional, organized feel to the artist.
The assignment has also taught me that it is important to promote your site and give yourself a good reputation. As a new media student, it is likely that my future career will be as a freelancer and that a lot of my job opportunities will come about as a result of networking. It is important, then, that my site is easily accessible and showcases my best work. I also feel it is important to provide the reader with a strong ‘about me’ section to give them a sense of who I am and what my strengths are. Hopefully, the web page I am working on now will soon begin to portray this things and allow my personality to shine through.
I am glad I had to do this assignment. I learned a lot about just how readily available information is on the web and I feel I learned the importance of protecting my image and organizing information about myself in a way that I see fit. I hope that this assignment will prepare me for my future in the online world of new media.