My Professional Identity

I recently went through the thought exercise of trying to define my professional identity on the web. When thinking about the various components that make up my professional identity, I thought about it in terms of what I’d like people to know about me and what best represents myself and my work.

My Primary Identity
The following four online presences represent the core of my professional identity.

1. My Resume -
If I had to pick a single online presence to represent me, it would certainly be my LinkedIn profile. It provides the most comprehensive view of what I’m doing, what I’ve done, and my areas of expertise.

2. My Blog -
My blog is an equally important part of my professional identity, as I use it as a way to share in long-form my views on various technology issues, my learnings from my various career adventures, and as a platform for promoting my latest project. By perusing my blog, a reader gets a clear sense of the way I think, what I’m interested in, and ways we can mutually benefit from each other.

3. My Tweets -
I leverage Twitter as my daily platform for engaging in conversations associated with my industry. It’s where I share in short-form what I’m reading, what’s new that I find interesting, as well as network with leaders and colleagues in the space. Given it’s daily activity, it’s by far the best way to learn what’s important to me right now.

4. My Company -
No picture of me is complete without understanding my work. Thus my company’s website and product are an equally important part of my professional identity.

Up & Coming Presences
Three additional online presences have cropped up as potential additions to my professional identity. They still feel nascent, so I haven’t yet made them part of my core set, though I do think they each have a lot of potential.

1. My Answers -
Quora has emerged as a great place to learn from startup luminaries about the strategies and tactics they employed to be successful. It’s also a great place to exhibit your own expertise and offer your wisdom on a variety of topics. The Quora team has done a great job of cultivating the site in such a way that a Quora answer serves equally as an answer to a question as it does an expression of your own identity. While I am concerned whether they’ll be able to keep the strength of the community as they grew, it’s certainly one that I’m eagerly watching.

2. My Presentations -
Sometimes the best presentation of my work or learnings is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and SlideShare provides a great way to share these with the broader community. I’ve used it on several occasions and plan to continue to do so as it provides a more engaging look into my work and thoughts than simple blog posts or tweets.

3. My Open Source Contributions -
While I haven’t yet made any open source contributions on github, I certainly plan on doing so. It’s become a great place to contribute to open source projects you care about, host your own open source projects, as well as serve as a great showcase for your work. It’s the best portfolio I’ve seen for developers work to date.

Gaps in My Identity
There are also a few areas I feel are lacking in terms of an online presence that I’d like to develop.

1. My Portfolio
I haven’t found a great way to represent my portfolio of work online. As a product guy, the best show case is definitely the products I’ve built. While I do list many of them here, it doesn’t provide the depth I would want from a portfolio. I’d love to find a better way to present and allow readers to explore them.

2. Buzz About Me
Outside blog and press coverage of your work and yourself is a great way to showcase yourself. It’d be great if there was an easy way to include this as part of your online identity. While I do have a press mentions page on the company website, I feel a certain amount also belongs as part of my portfolio as well as should also include interviews of me.

Alternatives I’ve Tried
In addition to the above mentioned presences, I’ve tried a variety of additional services, each with their own unique representation of you. Unfortunately most have not become a regular part of my professional identity.

Facebook -
Google+- - - -
friendfeed - - - -
CrunchBase -
YouNoodle -
500 Startups -
Gist -
BranchOut -
Xing -
Viadeo -
Ushi -
Spoke -
Klout -
Kred -
PeerIndex -
Identified -
MyWebCareer -
TweetLevel -
PROskore -
Twitalyzer -

If you have creative ways of representing yourself online or new services you suggest I try, please let me know!
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