Thursday, May 5, 2011

Developing an Online Presence Bit by Byte :)

A classmate, Taylor Gilbert, recently posted that he felt a little daunted by having to create an online presence in a social media world that has become somewhat of a leviathan and mentioned the presence that I have created for myself online. I commented that I've had a year and a half or so since I joined the social media scene to build up an online persona and advised him to try doing it a little bit at a time, as most people do. In this class, it must feel a little like being thrown into the deep end of a pool without floaties for the first time. I can't imagine learning all these myriad tools at once.

I thought I'd quickly document my process of how I got into it all.
  • I suppose the very first dip into the online pool was marrying a web designer. I should have known that I was in for it when he wanted to create a small website announcing our engagement where people could RSVP for our wedding. Before we married my husband converted me to Gmail and other google services.
  • When I got married (August 2008) I started keeping a private blog to update family on our going ons. It was an easy way to get pictures to all of them at once and let them know what was going on without having to send out individual emails (or heaven forbid, handwritten letters j/k). The blog is now public at 
  • In Fall Semester 2008, my husband and I started using GoogleDocs to share papers and help edit one another's papers. (I know use this as a tool for group composition for papers, study guides, etc.)
  • Winter Semester 2009, I started using Picasa and becoming more familiar with other Google products that allow online sharing (like online photo albums). My husband and I have taken special advantage of Google Calendar to coordinate very busy schedules. 
  • In July 2009, I was hired as a transcriptionist for BYU's Accessibility Center and had to become acquainted with new software. I joined a few private online support groups for those who transcribe for the deaf and followed blogs that had to do with this. 
  • In January of 2010, only my third semester at BYU, Dr. Burton required me to get a facebook for a class he was teaching since facebook groups was the platform he wanted to use for the class to keep in touch (instead of the notoriously glitchy Blackboard). Before this I had successfully avoided most online social media like the plague. No joke. I had all the stereotypical arguments: the danger of giving away too much information, privacy, how people will view you, information being stored online forever, and my favorite: if people really want to get in touch with me, they can just call me. LOL My Facebook page.
  • In Winter semester 2010, during the same class mentioned above, Dr. Burton converted me to the idea of keeping a personal blog, not just one to update the family, where I could post things I was learning and build more of an individual online persona. He refuted most of my arguments about social media and privacy and I learned to be okay with being wrong. It was around this time I created my personal blog:
  • Last Semester, Winter 2011, I took somewhat of a hiatus from online world for two reasons: 1.) We found out we were pregnant and I had a lot of preparing to do and 2.) we had several computer problems I mentioned in an earlier post (We went from having 5 working computers to 1 in the house. A bit of a blessing really.) I still updated to Twitter from my phone and even used Facebook as a platform for one of my major projects, but I didn't blog as much or keep up to date with other's blogs.
  • And now I've really updated my Google Profile this semester and gotten more familiar with Google Reader for the class. Then there's this blog, which I'm trying to update almost daily. I'm getting more and more familiar with the blogspot platform but I haven't used it in a while, because I definitely prefer Plus I created this blog so that I could use my personal blog for more personal posts and this one for more academic ones that have to do with the course.
So there you go. I guess it's been a longer journey than I remembered right off the bat, but it really only happened a bit at a time. So my suggestion is don't overwhelm yourself with all the new tools. Just try out one at a time. Become familiar with one at a time. And you don't have to be super proficient in any of them, just familiar with each. 


  1. Wow. You, Bri, are very well connected. Do you still keep up with all those different blogs? Did you find that writing blog posts gets easier as you do it more frequently?

  2. Good stuff! I would agree that it takes time, and that you do it a pace which keeps you excited about it, being neither bored nor overstretched.

    Developing an online presence takes a lot of feeling out. Things that might seem interesting to me are not interesting to other people. Not submitting to the creation of content for the sake of views (which doesn't work because the passion is not there), compromises must be made couching interests in broader frames. Lots of mistakes are going to be made, but they aren't failures if they're learned from. Blogs are going to take on several identities, and never reach an end product. Part of the fun of a blog is that it is a journey, and rarely a destination.

    It is excited when a blog receives international attention. People around the world are curious about Americans, and especially about Mormons. I personally advise to create content that is not regional, but can be interesting to world visitors. By regional I mean subjects or material containing local lingo, inside jokes, or not explaining the significance of local events to a broad audience.

    Have fun with it and know opportunities come through persistance and perseverance!

  3. I'm so glad that you've documented your online history! It really makes me think I need to revise my post (or add another) to suggest that we take time to do a personal narrative accounting for our digital life as you have just modeled. Excellent!

  4. @ Nyssa, yeah, I keep up with a lot of these blogs when they still publish (not the work ones since I just finished my employment there). and I DEFINITELY think the posts come easier the more frequently you post. When I'm posting consistently I get ideas for several different posts a day. It's hard to limit myself to just one, so I write drafts for the future. But you've been blogging for a while too... what have you found?

    @ Burton - Glad you liked it... it took forever because I had to research the timing of things.

  5. Super motivates me to do a better job!