No. 1: Updating My Online Presence

Activity for 1/4/2019

Today I’m working on updating my personal professional website–yes, the one that this blog is a part of. It’s fairly important because

  • I’m on the market, and
  • I recently found out I’m missing out on a lot of research/speaking/consulting opportunities because my old virtual presence doesn’t reflect the reality of who I am professionally at this point.

I’m the first one who is guilty of committing the cardinal sin of being too absorbed in my “work” and thus not taking the time to work on me. So today I actually took the time to tidy up a few things on this site like writing my “About” page, getting my CV up on my personal website (at least I now have the file available for download, and yes, I had it up on other sites, but that isn’t a good excuse for it not being on jacquelinetidwell.com), and writing this first Field Note! Emmy is still here at home because school doesn’t get back up and running until 1/7/19, so thank everything that can be thanked that the husband is at home so we can tag-team taking care of her (as well as the fact that she is pretty self-contained while playing in the floor and only comes over every once in a while to try to trade her sock monkey for mommy’s laptop).

I started this endeavor at 10:00 am, and it was only at 5:45 pm I was finally able to hit “Publish” on my About page. Honestly, I did take a break for a bit to brainstorm with the hubby about a future writing project and revisit his social media plan–yes, those of us who procrastinate to do…. 😊 While the result isn’t perfect, this critical piece of website infrastructure is finally updated and available to anyone who might want to view it.

Reflections

First of all, for someone like myself who is terrible at the human relationship thing and especially despises having to talk about myself, writing an About page is hard. You can simultaneously put too much information and not enough at exactly the same time. Fortunately for those of us who like to take inspiration from the world (and others) around us, it’s pretty easy to find a few inspiring About pages where you can draw some inspiration. Here are two I encountered today that I found particularly interesting and helped give me some ideas for how to frame my own–which really does pale in comparison:

During the process of crafting my About page, I quickly began to realize that a lot of the information I initially wanted to use actually belonged elsewhere: like in a separate post to give background and historical context in the rare instance someone really was that interested. The process of writing this page became a moment of reflection wherein I was reminded that I need to be empathic to both the people (like myself) who want the quick story and essential details, as well as the people who do genuinely care about all of the details and the whole story. Yes, it means more work in the meantime, but it is also a unique opportunity for me to practice what I preach about Design Thinking with my research and Audience Awareness with my students.

The process of writing that About page was a great reminder of just how hard it is to create a single page that will somehow manage to engage diverse audiences from academia, government, and the general public. As I share with my students and clients on a regular basis, managing that fuzzy line separating the different groups you are communicating with is REALLY hard, but if you are authentic to your “Why” (if you haven’t read Start With Why or used Find Your Why by Simon Sinek, you should) it gets a bit easier. Given my “Why” is directly related to helping others be courageous, self-aware, and having empathy for the voices and perspectives of others, I made the decision to keep my information conversational and approachable while also providing all of the necessary details for my academic friends and colleagues in the jargon they expect.

Emerging Insights

All of this is a process, and in true ENTJ fashion I will likely go back next week and iterate on what I wrote: rebuilding it all over again. Nonetheless, I am daily trying to find the balance between my professional life in academia and all that implies and my reputation as an honest broker of information to diverse groups. If you’re honest to who you are and genuinely try to present yourself in a way that your audiences (or at least the ones you are aware of) can understand, then you will be successful. But most importantly, my academic friends, make sure you have an updated website and About page!

Note: I want to give credit to Lorena Gibson, author of anthropod. The format I use for these Field Notes comes from her fieldwork template.