In the day and age of social media and technology, nearly every person who uses the internet possesses some degree of online personality. While warnings of the harm the media can have are often vocalized by concerned parties, having an online presence offers a unique opportunity to brand oneself.
Graduate student Iman Tucker uses the internet to blog about his life experiences. Tucker began his blog in the summer of 2017. Although he created the blog for personal reasons, the project quickly turned professional.
“I’m a firm believer that everything we do in our personal life should relate to our professional life,” Tucker said.
Because of blogging, Tucker said that he has expanded his writing skills and consequently received job opportunities writing for local businesses. Tucker was also offered an opportunity to write for the Odyssey Online—an online publication where college students can create content—by a University of Indianapolis alumnus who noticed Tucker’s blog. Although he did not accept the position, Tucker said that it was something that would not have happened if it had not been for his blog. Because of the connections he has made, the opportunities he has received and the feedback he has received from others, Tucker said his blog has become an asset to him.
Not only has his blog helped him develop his writing skills, Tucker claims that his blog has also helped him expand his social skills.
Despite this success, however Tucker says blogs can be detrimental to business if the platform is not used correctly.
“Sometimes, I think people become a little too transparent,” said Tucker. “They will write things that will definitely push consumers away. So if you’re going to be a blogger or help a business, you have to be very socially conscious [while blogging] or else you could offend a lot of people.”
UIndy’s Associate Profecassor of Finance and Director of External Relations for the School of Business Matthew Will has similar thoughts. Will encourages all of his students to create a website, but cautions them to keep their websites professional. Will believes websites help an individual brand themselves and thinks it is important that a positive web image is maintained because the internet is a public domain.
“I’ve had students over the years who have not gotten jobs because of their internet profile,” Will said. “Be professional, don’t post inappropriate pictures, don’t make inappropriate comments and be respectful of other people.”
Will operates his own website for both professional and personal reasons. His website allows him to share information, such as his research, with his colleagues and students.
Having a presence online does not have to affect career opportunities in a negative way, using media outlets and being aware and mindful of what content is created and posted can help maintain a professional status and perhaps even bring new opportunities that may not have been presented without a presence online.