On Tuesday, Sept. 27, the University of Connecticut Career Center hosted the webinar, “Establishing & Cultivating Your Digital Presence – for Scientists,” which was open to UConn students of all majors and schools, but specifically directed towards Huskies in STEM. The event was a prerecorded virtual lecture and provided introductory information regarding establishing and developing your digital presence and using it for both scholarly and professional purposes.
Digital presence is your online appearance. However, there are many components to how you create this appearance and what goals you are guided by. The webinar covered specific goals and values people may be motivated by when creating their online presence, as well as gave thorough advice on how to make it effective and helpful in developing your academic and professional career.
Through images, videos and social media accounts, students are able to gain and share knowledge through collaboration with others with similar interests, engage and present themselves to potential recruiters and employers, promote their own ideas or align with existing movements.
The webinar provided a detailed tutorial on how to establish your own presence and included simple, yet effective steps, the main one being creating a specific plan of action and accurately following it. Additionally, the host recommends to select a specific area or theme that you are most interested in and comfortable with; make sure to both engage with others through participating in open discussions and comment sections — instead of simply observing — and share your own quality content that may be useful and beneficial to others online. Most importantly, be consistent with your work. The importance of starting within your comfort zone with one or two specific goals and then, as you gain knowledge and experience within the digital word of science, branching out was also emphasized in the webinar.
Additionally, the webinar mentioned some specific technological devices and tools that may assist you in boosting your scientific career online; for example, it was mentioned that Twitter is the app most commonly used by scientists for the purpose of sharing and gaining knowledge and research. Such project management tools as Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck were also mentioned as useful and beneficial.
Of course, digital presence and the role of search engines and the internet in our lives has a downside to it as well. Not everything that appears online can be controlled by individuals — even if it affects or mentions them personally. It is not uncommon to find unflattering or unfortunate photos and videos of yourself online; thus, parts of your digital presence cannot necessarily be controlled. However, by focusing on the controllable rather than the uncontrollable you can successfully cultivate your digital presence.