The Online Identity: a blog series on social media

Creating an online identity is vital in almost any (if not all) job market.

With so many dramatic changes in the writing industry, creating and maintaining an online identity is more important than ever. Everything is going digital from books to publishers, so it makes sense that writers should go digital too. Whether you are an author who wants to be published traditionally or an author who wants self-publish, one thing is for sure — we must have an online identity.

But what exactly is an online identity and do we really need one?

An online identity is nothing more than your presence online.

Most of us already have an online identity. Like me, you’re probably on one (or more) of several social networking sites — Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Many of you may even have a website or a blog, or both.

But just having a lot of profiles online and having a website is not enough. We have to utilize these services to their full potential. It’s not enough to just build an online identity, we have to maintain it, too. In maintaining our online identity, we need to remember that our online identity is how we connect with others in our chosen industry. For example, as writers, our online identity allows us to connect and form relationships with our target audiences — other writers, readers, reviewers, agents and publishers.

Because our online identity is a way for us to deal with our target audiences, we need to ensure that we are conducting ourselves professionally and courteously. While it’s certainly acceptable to tweet about your interests outside the realm of writing (for example, I tweet about knitting and Doctor Who about as much as I tweet about writing), there are still guidelines we should follow in order to help us build the best online identity we can.

Since an online identity is a way for us to deal with the public and my area of expertise is public relations, I am going to be running a blog series about building and maintaining an online identity. It is something that is beneficial to all writers, whether you are a veteran with multiple published books or a novice still learning the craft.

Upcoming topics include:

  • First Name Last Name, not as boring as you think – What to use for your online identity and why nicknames aren’t the way to go.
  • Facebook, Twitter & Blogs, oh my! – Do we really need to be everywhere? How do I chose the medium that is best for me? Once I have my platform, what do I do with it?
  • Twitter Crash Course – From hashtags to shortened URLs, everything you need to know about using Twitter.
  • Keep it Together! – Utilizing more than one aspect of social media? How do we keep our blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages from getting jumbled?
  • Social Media & Manners – The commandments of social media etiquette, or how to not scare away your audience.
  • Professional vs. Personal – How do we balance our personal lives with our professional ones? Is it OK to blog/tweet about my kids and my writing? How can we establish a professional connections and get an audience?
  • What Do I Blog About? – Finding blog ideas, writing a blog and how to find readers.
  • Top Ten Blogging Tips Everyone Needs To Know – Just what it says. The best ways to blog in one simple list.

If you have any questions about social media, I invite you to email me (alice[dot]mcelwee[at]gmail[dot]com) your questions. I’d like to utilize your questions in my posts as examples (you can remain anonymous if you wish).  I’ll do my best to reply to questions in my upcoming posts, but if not, I’ll definitely shoot you an email with an answer!

The Online Idenitity blog series will run (in order) every Monday and Thursday in April, beginning on Thursday, April 3.

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4 responses

  1. Great post, Alice! I’m looking forward to learning how to do shortened urls on twitter!

    March 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    • Thanks, Kate! I’m really looking forward to doing this blog series.

      March 30, 2011 at 10:04 pm

  2. Pingback: Back to Basics, Part 2: Balancing time as a writer

  3. Pingback: Gravatar, it’s like a new pair of shoes! « Cid Tyer

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