For almost 2 years now, one of my mentors at UMBC, Renetta Tull , has been stressing the importance of having and maintaining a professional online presence. She encouraged students in Maryland’s AGEP: PROMISE to have and maintain a LinkedIn Profile, a professional Facebook profile, a twitter account, and a professional blog or website.
At first, I didn’t fully understand the need for this, especially for tweeting and even more for a PhD student trying to finish their dissertation in a timely fashion. I thought,”Who has time to tweet and blog on a regular basis when I have to read, collect and analyze data, write my dissertation and present my research.” However, being the open-minded woman I try my best to be, I took the advice, began to process it, and agreed to begin to make my online presense important.
I start by completing my profile on LinkedIn, started a wordpress blog, and opening a twitter account in Fall 2009. However, with school and life I did little beyond update my facebook status and continue to make connections on LinkedIn. Every once in a while I would use facebook to locate and work with colleagues in my field or spread the word about educational opportunities to my network. But someone, when I posted a FB status that I was using Facebook for work, no one seemed to believe me.
Then, as I started an internship with the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Fall 2009, I was one of nine diverse interns across the nation conducting evaluations at non-profits, government agencies, university research centers, and private organizations. I began to see the need for my online presence as we communicated via webinars on skype and conducted a group evaluation of the previous five years of the internship, which required finding and interviewing previous interns mainly via their online presence. I realized that if both the previous interns and the program had an online presence then the evaluation would have been better. I even saw the need for tweeting because the evaluation techniques I was using in my own project are very dynamic. Tweeting and following tweets helped to stay abreast of how other evaluators were using various evaluation techniques.
Next, I finally added a theme, photo and information to my wordpress blog when I was invited to speak at MIT in Summer 2010. However, it wasn’t Fall 2010 when my Morehouse brother, Richard Hilliard, volunteered and created an AWESOME webpage for me that I was energized to enter the world of blogging and tweeting on a regular basis. I look forward to having a place to share some of my thoughts and experiences through my life journey with others and hope it provide some benefit. If not, it’s still a great place and way for me to record the life I have been blessed to live and love. If you’re looking for the website, Brother Richard and I are still working on it but expect to be done by next week – just in time for another post. . .