Design your online presence (be deliberate)

Leveraging the online platforms available to us today to thrust our stories far and wide was only a dream a few decades earlier. Social media has become a place where talent gets discovered, news get broken and we don’t wait for weeks — we feel the impact immediately. Occurrences get revealed as they take form.

Of course, the most profound thing is this: social media are global.

Now, having a deliberately and well-built online presence has a few benefits. One, it acts as your billboard and represents you when you aren’t in the room. It allows you to build connections without geographical restrictions and my favourite, it allows you to display your work (just as artist Nelson Makamo has turned his Instagram profile into a gallery) and prove your value and build an engaged audience.

The following three-pronged approach is what I have used to build my own online presence.

WRITE BETTER

Perhaps because I am a Writer. But I believe writing well is a necessity in expressing yourself — not a pursuit reserved for professional writers. What I see often is a disregard for writing on social media platforms. So, you’d have people who attempt to write well when they send an email compared to when they pen a status update or tweet.

I prefer crafting to the best my ability tweets and Instagram posts that rival my emails and blog posts. Everything I write needs to ooze my voice and have traces of my insistence on quality writing.

And writing isn’t as old-fashioned as other people might believe. Just look at how we’re texting far more than we make calls to get our stories out there. So, tell your story through great writing.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social platforms are a big part of the world that now largely lives online. They often act as vehicles to have conversations, consume news, express ideas and promote our stories. And I’ve realised that social media are so powerful in that they can influence your worldview and how you act because of the time you spend on these platforms and the ideas you take in.

Buzzfeed Publisher, Dao Nguyen, once summed up the impact of social media eloquently in an article published on Fast Company. “Traditionally, publishing meant owning a printing press and dealing with delivery trucks and newsstands. With digital media, getting your content to the public is all about your technical platform and your distribution plans on social networks.”

DON’T ONLY LOVE ART, EXHIBIT (CREATE)

There are two types of people. Those who appreciate works produced by other people and those who use inspiration from others to look within themselves in order to create their own. Of course, your level of skill in an endevour counts for a lot. But, when it comes to narrating your story through an impressive online presence, no one can do it better than you can.

So, my modus operandi is one that not only encourages appreciating art but also making the means to create your own art to exhibit. In this context, that means creating a blog site, using Instagram as a porfolio or have a YouTube channel for your web show and sharing with the world your perspective and unique insight.

And on the point of impacting the world, Gary Vaynerchuk’s statement speaks volumes: “I wish it on all of you to know that [by chasing your goals], even though you are going after your own self-interests. By proxy, by sawdust, by process you’re bringing so much good to the world. It’s an incredibly intoxicating feeling.”

True. So, contribute to the world. Exhibit what you’ve got.