Curating Your Online Presence: The Digital Footprints of a Professional

Social media provides us with plenty of avenues to meet new people, share experiences and add to global communities. However, as the first generation to experiment with social networking sites on such a large, ubiquitous scale, we’re bound to run into difficulties concerning the message we want our social sites to say versus what people perceive them as.

McKeldin Library recently hosted the first of two seminars called Curating Your Online Presence, focused on helping students, especially graduate students, navigate the delicate boundary of engaging with social media while using it as an asset to promote professional candidacy.

The seminar was created by third year English PhD student Setsuko Yokoyama and sixth year English PhD candidate Katie Kaczmarek. While the latter was not in attendance, digital scholarship librarian Terry Owen and graduate assistant Abbey Morgan also helped facilitate and organize the workshop.

Whether you’re writing the articles or citing them, academic careers provide multiple avenues for research and publication as students. The event highlights the importance of trying to find ways to retain rights to your research. Owen says that while issues of copyright pertaining to certain journals or sites can make it difficult to own some of your work, publishers are becoming “a lot more lenient” in regards to students having to maintain a claim to their work.  

If you’re thinking beyond just acting as part of a publication, and instead starting one of your own on campus, Owen says that “you have to have a plan to pass that off to someone” in order to preserve the longevity of your work.

On the use of social media to advance your professional career, Yokoyama says, “It’s all about showcasing what you do.”

Yokoyama notes that there is a balance to be had when using social media both personally and professionally. “Create those different selves online” while being aware of the possible risks that can occur when putting too much information on the web, says Yokoyama.

Yet, when asked about whether or not to present forms of activism online, Yokoyama says “Go for it.” She mentions that although you do want to retain a semblance of decorum online, there is no need to fabricate who you are, especially since it “depends on what kind of job” you have.

If you’re interested in learning more information or discovering new ways in which to elevate the professionalism of your own social media, the next Curating Your Online Presence workshop will be held Nov. 9 and is available for registry now.