Manage your web presence carefully

Academics need to pay attention to their digital footprints, therefore I have spend some time using various social media platforms to showcase my brand, namely Christa van Staden. In this post, I will discuss the reasons why I have chosen the platforms, with links to my profiles. It is worthwhile to note that it is recommended that you use the same profile picture across various platforms to boost your image.


AcademiaScreen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.51.36 PM is used by 35 093 172 academics worldwide, who share their academic papers across the world for free. A study recently published in PLOS ONE revealed that papers uploaded in Academia received a 69% boost in citations over 5 years. What I like about Academia is that it send me updates when my contacts upload new papers, and that I can download the papers from there. It also provide statistics with regard to profile and document views. I can also upload draft papers and ask for feedback, although I have not used that functionality yet. I also like the bookmark function, since I can also see how many others viewed the specific content.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.52.13 PMResearchgate is one of my favourite platforms since I can ask questions and somebody will provide an answer. I can see how many people have read my work and how many profile views I received. It provides a reputation score based not only on publications, but also on participation in the network. Therefore, you can boost your score by asking questions and by answering questions stated by peers. Peers can boost your contributions, but they can also endorse the skills you have identified. They can follow you, and you can follow them, therefore I love using this platform. When I Google my own name, the page where I have shared my publications loads on the first page of hits, therefore Researchgate need to be regarded as an effective tool for academic conversations.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.52.54 PMWho’swho is a South African platform where you can earn badges for your contributions in various fields. The site awards users a rank, a status badge (member, professional, noteworthy and Who’swho based on your profile information) and various badges based on participation in various walks of life. I have received 4 badges, and I like the idea of being badged. The site shows related profiles, therefore it is easy to find likeminded peers.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.53.11 PMLinkedin is a well-known platform, but I actually do not like using it. But, I am keeping it up to date since many of my peers are using it. Furthermore, this profile loads under the top five when my name is typed into a Google search.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.53.33 PMFacebook provided me with the opportunity to create more than one profile, therefore, I have created a second one where I connect with teachers. The two profiles provide me with the opportunity to keep my private posts, meant to be seen by family and friends separate from the ones where I discuss school-related topics. I found that family and friends do not understand my need to discuss education-related topics, therefore they are not bombarded with posts not intended for their ears (eyes). Facebook Groups provides a wonderful place where learning can take place, if it is well-managed by the admin of the group. I have created a group for teachers and it has close to 4000 members at this stage. The conversations are educational and uplifting, but it took some serious interventions with regard to netiquette. Teachers are not allowed to be nasty with one another and membership has to be requested. I found that the best way to establish such a learning community is to ask personalised questions such as: “Can you help me?” and then stating my problem. I always get replies that help the members to solve problems experienced in their careers/schools. Some members ask private questions using the inbox, and then I ask the questions on their behalf in the group. I love this group of teachers.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 5.56.48 PMOnline CV’s provide another method to leave a digital footprint, therefore I have designed a website using Joomla to display my CV in website format. I believe it is the best way to sell my brand, since it provided the opportunity to acquire a personalised email address as well. Several of the pages of this website loads on the first page when I do a Google search, therefore it should be regarded as an effective tool for leaving digital footprints.

Work-related profile pages need to be up to date. Mine loads second after a Google search, indicating that it is often found when my name is typed in a Google search. Quite interestingly is the fact that this profile loads second after a Google search since it rarely happens that work-related profiles load on the first page. Check yours and find a way to improve the profile, it is worthwhile to keep it up to date.

Google+Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.54.13 PM provide another platform that need to be kept up to date. Mine loads on the secons page after a Google search, therefore it might be necessary to improve my web presence here.

Please let me know if there are any platforms you are using that need to be investigated by commenting on this post.

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