I believe in completely and absolutely putting yourself out there for everyone to find …
There are a million and one reasons why you shouldn’t even mess with having an Internet profile, including, but not limited to: invasion of privacy, competitiveness for amount of readers, page views, and subscribers, feeling the need to update (at least) weekly, running the chances of your boss / ex / ex-friend from high school / mortal enemy / Department of Homeland Security or any other number of agencies coming out to hogtie you, split open your neck with a guillotine, and put a toe tag on you just for finishing touches, there are also a few reasons often overlooked, especially since the Internet is truly the next big dimension.
Yet, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite part of social media: the human connection. In my circle of friends, I’ve been the most progressive user in this medium, even when some of them were detractors. A few years later, many of the opportunities I’m proud to be a part of and the people I’ve met have come from the ‘Net, believe it or not. So without further adieu, a list of reasons to ponder becoming a full-blown Web 2.0 / 3.0 geek:
1) It’s yours. Not anyone else’s. Full autonomy. I don’t post dirt, but real parts of my story, and that’s important for me to make that distinction.
2) You create your own “media.” I don’t have to wait for a spokesperson, or get a publicist. As soon as I write something, BAM! Done. It’s proven good so far, so I won’t ruin my good fortunes.
3) It creates tons of opportunities for … well practically everything. Ever since I started blogging, the opportunities to meet people, go places, be part of workshops, and write for different venues have practically fallen on my lap. Before I started blogging publicly, I had to beg and plead for an opportunity, and I’d have to pull out some random report I did for writing samples. Now, if someone wants a writing sample, they can hit the nifty orange icon at the top of my page. It’s really that simple. I know friends who’ve gotten contacts for book deals, mentoring, and even a few political party conventions.
4) On the Internet, it’s much easier to filter out people you really like (or don’t like, for that matter). I’m not forced to work with anyone who I don’t like if it’s the Internet. That red X on the corner (or silver and black X for Mac users) comes in really handy in those cases.
5) You can test out ideas and get immediate (and sometimes very thorough) feedback about the idea. 1/2 the time I blog, it’s about dropping unfiltered thoughts and trying to get a different worldview than my own. I grow from it, and I’m sure you can too.
Also note a couple of things, too:
1) I don’t ever say anything incriminating about my workplace. I’ll talk about the ideas I’m not too fond of, but never the person (unless it’s a public figure like Klein or Bloomberg). I know I’ve harped on that quite a bit, but it’s important because I know who reads this stuff and the kinds of drama it can create. I won’t be the next teacher-blogger who’s forced into seclusion by some higher-ups wagging their hefty fingers. No thanks.
2) These also comes with the precondition that you know how to manage how you’d like to be perceived.
So please, get a Facebook / MySpace (e-mail me for this one) / Twitter / blog (preferably self-hosted) / LinkedIn / any other new social site that might outdate even this post. As long as the Internet is a place to meet more humans (and by meet, I mean meet them in real life) and not to run away from them, then we’re good. And even us introverts have to play the extrovert if we have a message to get across.
Until everyone understands the power of this Web 2.0 / 3.0 business, I’ll still be the walrus in the room. Goo-goo-ga-choob.
Jose, who has parent-teacher conferences tomorrow and am inordinately excited about the possibilities …