Blurring the lines between social networks

We hear it over and over again: Nothing is truly “private” on the Web. But with the ability to set our profiles to “private,” we still tend to feel invincible and post photos/wall posts we’d never want employers to see. 

With the continually-changing interconnectedness of the Web, social networks continue to let down their walls, and that sense of “privacy” starts to diminish.

So my New Years resolution proposal to you, from one student to another: make your Facebook page more professional. And after you’ve done that, make more industry connections in whatever your field is.

  • If you’re active on Twitter and LinkedIn, your professional and social networks will begin to mesh
  • Be ready for the day when those lines begin to blur so you don’t have to clean up after yourself
  • Untag photos that may get you in trouble
  • Delete wall posts from nagging/gossipy friends with profanity etc.
The meshing of social networks into one big, interconnected web (of both professional and personal/social) is inevitable.

When Myspace and Facebook were new to the Internet, they were competitive (and certainly still are today). But more and more, networks are finding ways to work together instead of against each other.

Examples:

Twitter application for Facebook

 

Plugging Flickr, YouTube, Yelp, Last.fm, Hulu and more to your Facebook page


Embedding your blog, Slideshare onto LinkedIn


Traditionally, social networks have been organized as follows:

  • Facebook = personal, social
  • Myspace = personal, social
  • LinkedIn = professional
  • Twitter = a mix of both

But those distinct lines are now blurring. When a professional LinkedIn connection added me as a friend on Facebook,  I was momentarily baffled about what to do. Decline the friend and risk losing a connection? That would make it as though I have something to hide.

It became obvious that eventually, it would come to the point where I have to push aside privacy concerns and start opening my Facebook up to the rest of the world. As recruiters turn to social media, I can’t risk being anything less than professional. 

Now I’m starting to mesh my networks: my Twitter status is linked to my Facebook status — something I’d resisted for a long time because I didn’t think any of my personal, real-life friends would care about the same things as my Twitter followers.

As my Facebook expands beyond college and high school friends to include family (yes, the older generation is catching on), professionals and industry connections, Facebook is no longer about being social, but about maintaining and online identity and a personal brand.

Tips for making an online portfolio (and a new one coming soon at laurenrabaino.com!)

Interact has been lacking lately and there are a few reasons for that:

  1. Finals week meant a lot of studying, few online distractions
  2. Portfolio redesign in progress means a lot of CSS headaches
  3. A lot of travelling
  4. As I learned from Paul Bradshaw, I don’t have a community to encourage my continued blogging
A sneak peak of what my soon-to-be-released portfolio looks like: 
One prototype of my portfolio coming soon at LaurenRabaino.com

One prototype of my portfolio coming soon at LaurenRabaino.com

Here are a few things I’ve learned about making a porfolio in the past few days:
  1. CSS is a must. My old portfolio was rushed in Dreamweaver through a template I created using tables. Although tables are easy and functionable, CSS is easier for manipulating the design later and it looks better to an employer. If a web producer wants to hire you and sees outdated tables in your code, you’re automatically going to look less talented.
     
  2. But while it’s a must, CSS is an absolute headache. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I’ve known fairly little about CSS, all it takes is a quick Google search to learn what you need.

    A great resource has been http://www.w3schools.com/css/
     

  3. Keep a consistent theme. I’ve gone with a blue/pink/black design that I’m also implementing on my blog and my Twitter. Why? Because it gives you an identity and an aesthetic brand online. If you want to transfer that look to the physical world, make your porfolio and business card match too. 
  4. Make it easy to be found on other social networks. I linked to my Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook,  Myspace, Interact, Newsvine, FriendFeed,  Google Reader, Wired Journalists, Flickr, YouTube and Mustang Daily articles.
     
  5. Have a good footer. Speaking in newspaper terms, make sure that what’s “below the fold” is still interesting. When people scroll, make sure they don’t lose interest. My footer contains my most recent Twitter status and my most recent shared item on Google Reader.

    Creative footer ideas:http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/04/08/footers-in-modern-web-design-creative-examples-and-ideas/
     

  6. Make it interactive. Although an aspect I’m still struggling with on my portfolio, interaction makes it more inticing. So far, my main form of interaction is through a rotating AJAX widget across the bottom that scrolls with my most recent photos and graphic design.
     
  7. Include a downloadable resume. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is as web-savvy as you. It’s likely that the higher-ups who will be looking to hire you will want a physical paper resume to review. Make sure it’s easily-accessible (and readily-printable) on your site!

    How to make a PDF:http://desktoppub.about.com/od/pdftutorials/PDF_Tutorials.htm
     

  8. Have an “about me” page. Although it seems pretty common sense, it can be easy to forget. Who are you? Why are you different? Why are you talented? Let them know here, and feel free to link to your outside work and associations. The more you link away from your portfolio, it shows how diverse of a network you have.

    What to include in your about me page:http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/11/24/how-to-write-your-about-me-page/
     

  9.  Can they contact you? If you want a job, they better be able to. If you include a contact form, make sure it works. If you include an e-mail address, make sure it’s spelled correctly and it’s easy to find.
If you have any portfolio tips to share, include them in the comments and I’ll add them to this post.

Quick, easy, FREE online portfolios with Google Pages

Let’s look at this scenario: A job/internship opportunity pops up at the last moment, and as you rush to e-mail a resume to your employer, you realize that you still haven’t gotten around to making that online portfolio.

But did you know that anyone with a Google account can use Google Page Creator to create a web site: quickly, easily and for free?  If you’ve never done web design before, you’re going to need a little guidance. 

First of all, is Google Pages the right option for you

  • You have no idea how to make your own web page
  • You have little time to teach yourself how to make your own web page
  • You lack money to buy a domain or hosting
  • You don’t know what a domain or hosting is
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then Google Pages might be a good (but temporary) solution for your woes. I say temporary because Google Pages will not create an ideal portfolio — an employer will generally prefer a reporter who can make his/her own online portfolio with custom design because it shows HTML/web knowledge.

Plus, there are many restrictions:

  • Can’t do much customization of the design, colors or modules
  • Can’t do simple things like link photos to an external link (photos will only link to the original photo)
  • Can’t resize photos
  • Can’t embed HTML (meaning you’ll have to link externally to multimedia work)
The great part, however, is the free part. Usually, free sites are drowning in advertisements, yet, somehow, Google Page Creator doesn’t place any ads on your site. Another thing to note is that although this tutorial is directed specifically at journalism majors, the concept can be applied to anyone. And really, everyone should have an online portfolio.
 

What you’ll need:

  • A Google account (you should really have one anyway for great features like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Checkout, Google Reader… oh, don’t get me started on why you need Google to live)
  • A gameplan: What pages are you going to have on your site? Do you have content for each of those pages?

Step one: Choose your layout and your look

The great thing about Google Pages is, while you can’t do a custom design, they give you more than 40 great pre-made templates to choose from. Go with something professional. Remember that you can always change the template later, but I suggest choosing one you’ll stick with. Otherwise, you’ll have to go through and change the template on each individual page — which can be a pain in the butt.
 
Although you can’t really customize the layout of your page, you get three basic options, which is more than enough for now. In the sample portfolio I created, I used the first option.

Step two: Create your pages

The following are the pages I used in my sample portfolio, although you’ll probably do your own thing:
  • Home (everyone must have this)
  • Writing
  • Multimedia
  • Photography
  • Resume (It’s probably smart for everyone to have this page too, regardless of your major/profession. But be careful! Think about whether you really want to include your home address and phone number on the web! I say stick with e-mail address)
  • Contact

Step three: Create your navigation

If you’re not a web designer, this part can sometimes be easy to forget. You’ll want to do this immediately after you make your pages so you can design around the navigation. Because Google Pages doesn’t allow you to insert custom modules, it can be hard to find a spot for the nav later. 
Depending on which layout you chose, your navigation will either go horizontally across the top (under your page title) or down the left column. 
  1. Type the name of each page into your nav area
  2. Link each text item to one of your pages
After you’ve linked each menu item to the right page, copy and paste your menu into every page so you don’t have to recreate it over and over again.

Step four: add your content

  • Adding text: Pretty self-explanatory. Simply type where you want text to exist. Make sure to use the same font to keep your site looking clean and consistent.
  • Linking to external articles: I suggest you link to wherever your writing is posted on the Web instead of having to make a new Google Page for each piece.
  • Inserting images: You can add images from a remote place on the web or from your computer. The downside is that you can’t control the size of your image or where it links. You can align an image to the left or right by simply dragging it to the corner of a module.
  • Publishing your pages: Click “Publish” at the top of the page when you’re ready, or go to your site manager and publish all your pages at the same time

Other tips and tricks:

  • Keep it visually engaging. Try to have one visual element on each page. Break up your text with white space and by making certain words bold or different colors (make sure you stick to the same palette as your theme though)
  • Link to social networks. On the contact page, include external links to your Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, blog, Flickr, e-mail address and any other social network you feel comfortable showing to an employer. Promote yourself! (And on the flip side, include a link to your Google Page on your resume and business card)
  • Change it later. Remember that Google Pages should be your temporary solution. You should really buy your own domain and learn HTML so you can create something less generic. 

Good luck! If you have any other questions, post them in the comments. After you finish the final product, please post a link to it in the comments too.

Holiday shopping list for journalism geeks

Holidays are just around the corner– do you know what you’re getting newspaper colleagues? Here are a few gift ideas for your friends, co-workers or yourself (why not?).


Price Range: $5-$15

Leather steno notepad holder
For the “professional” journalist. It always feels good going into an interview with a classy holder for your steno pad.
$10.86 on Amazon

23-in-1 card reader
For every camera and gadget you could imagine: Compact Flash CF I, CF II, CF Ultra II / MicroDrive / Smart Media Card / xD / Secure Digital: SD, SDHC, SD Ultra, miniSD (with adapter), microSD/TransFlash (with adapter) / Multimedia Card: MMC I, MMC II, RS-MMC, HS-MMC / Memory Stick: MS, MS Pro, MS Duo, MS Pro Duo, MS MG, MS MG Pro, MS MG Duo, MS MG Pro Duo
$9.99 on Eforcity


Price Range $15-$40

Fun journalism t-shirts (proceeds go toward 10,000  Words)
“Original tees for techies, geeks, journalists, font whores and more.” And you can order them as hoodies too for the winter season.
Prices vary on 10,000 Words Store (Zazzle)


Price Range $40-$80

OLYMPUS WS-110 USB Interface 256 MB Digital Voice Recorder
Slip it in your pocket or purse and be ready to report any time.
$59.99 on Newegg

Soundslides

Every journalist should have a version of Sounslides on his/her laptop for quick and easy audio slideshows. (If you’re feeling really generous, you can get Sounslides Plus for $30 more)

$39.95-$69.95 at Soundslides.com


Price Range $80+ (For the big spenders)

Flip video
This convenient little contraption records up to 60 minutes of video and can fit in your back pocket. Quality is surely lacking, but it’s nice to have, just in case.

$98.82 on Ritz Camera

Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen
Although they might be better off with a standard audio recorder and a 75 cent pen, your journalist friend will have fun (and look geeky) with the Licescribe Smartpen.

  • Record and link audio to what you write
  • Listen to your recordings by tapping on what you wrote
  • Search and share your notes and recordings from your computer

$199.95 on Amazon

Rode Podcaster (USB Microphone)
One of the best podcasting microphones around.
$229.00 on B&H

Have any more suggestions? Share your thoughts in the comments and I’ll add them to the post.