You can’t go for a job interview now without first being held scrutiny to what pops up when your name is Googled. Our internet profile is how we appeal to the whole world at the touch of a button and once its up there you cannot really ever get rid of it so its a perfect way to be judged in terms of professional identity.
People can update the world on their every movement and breakfast via Facebook and Twitter #ChineseTakeaway. Whilst this can be as mundane as anything to hear at times if you do actually have something interesting to say then social media is an ideal way to improve your chances of having your voice heard.
Most of all social media is Accessible, with so many different types of social networking out there such as Twitter which allows for shorter updates and celebrity contact, Facebook which is slightly less professional but versatile and more greatly populated and YouTube which is mostly about video distribution but does have socialising opportunities to name a few, you can almost guarantee there is something for whatever the identity you wish to portray is. I myself have used Facebook, Twitter, Viewbug, YouTube, MySpace, Ideastap, Thought.com and funnily enough WordPress to piece together my professional ID in different ways which I will come back to later.
The massively populated world of social media makes it significantly easier to distribute your work and present yourself then without it.
Whilst this mass projection can be ideal for many practitioners it is not without its negatives. With fans come people who can bring your professional identity down such as negative feedback on YouTube videos or on a Facebook page that might not be as appropriate as hoped. With one opinion leader can become many opinion leaders.
The use of social media has been of significant use to building my own personal professional identity. Through social networking on Facebook particularly I have gained relatively easily contacts and work experience within the film industry which by continually adding to my online profile has created yet more interest.
Another positive effect that social media has had on my own individual profile is gaining feedback. Through social networking it has become possible to target my work at a specific audience demographic and to find out if my work appeals to an intended audience so that I can adjust everything accordingly. For example in the past I have used the voting feature on Facebook to build up potential film ideas. Such audience involvement allows the audience to engage further with a film for example than was ever possible before.
Through social networking I have also gained recognition via my relatively new viewbug account in which after two hours I was entered into an international ‘Best composed photography’ contest by a complete stranger and won. Surreal but encouragement like that is what creates a spark of more interest. I have always taken special consideration into the way I appear on the internet, by creating a separate account for my non personal life I am growing increasingly conscious about how fragile professional identity can be and how permanent negative effects on professional profiles can be.
I feel committing to projecting my own professional identity on something as vast as social media is inevitably without its negatives e.g copyright theft but with so many people using it, it is slowly becoming almost essential that you use it to stand much chance of survival within the such a blooming industry as the media.