"Running my own web site since 1995!"

     We started classes here at the University of Tennessee this past Wednesday, and it has been great teaching my PR
     Principles class so far.  My students are energetic and engaged with the material , and they have been very active in
     learning more about public relations.  What has been interesting for me so far is that everyone appears to want to know
     more about how to manage their online reputation.  Whether it is for their own personal brand, or sharing this knowledge
     with students getting ready to graduate and into their first position, it has definitely been a topic of conversation.

     I started giving guest lectures on this very topic at the University of Tennessee two years ago exactly, back in the Fall 2008
     semester.  During my time as a track and field athlete and PR professional, there were some best practices I learned
     along the way to help establish a positive, personable, and engaging online presence and personality. 

     People have asked me what exactly is an online personality?  It is similar to how you define what a personality is
     (specific characteristics based on behavior, emotion, temperamental) that makes a person unique and original but this
     is showcased in a virtual form in different formats.  Whether it is presenting a YouTube video of yourself or how you write 
     blog posts or sharing pictures all of these elements make up your online personality. 

     However, what is important to note here is that your presences on social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn,
     and Facebook
are important, but the ultimate hub of managing your reputation is your website.  Imagine if you will a
     diagram of a pyramid the foundation is your website where you post information on yourself (ex. CV, resume, etc),
     pictures, newsletters, and updates.  This is where you want people to go ultimately since you can manage it and share
     information, updates, and news with the online community.  The next step is having your blog this showcases not only
     what you are doing, but it allows people an insight into you as a person.  Plus, it is a great way to practice your writing
     skills on a daily basis, and it is a lot of fun. 

     The next level is where your social media platforms are at like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.  This shows
     your connectiveness to the online community and managing your online presence and personality in different formats. 
     But ultimately, you want these sites to have your blog and website information so these individuals can also look and see
     what information is presented here.  The last level is for the social media platforms and new technology sites that separates
     yourself from the rest of the PR professionals, researchers, and students out there looking for positions and business
     opportunities.  Whether it is being engaged with
Foursquare or Digg or even creating your own niche social media
     community this can showcase your uniqueness and presents you as being different and innovative. 

     Your online reputation is probably your most prized possession it is the first thing that people (including employers) see
     when they search for you online through various search engines like
Bing, Samepoint, and Socialmention.  So, how do you
      protect your online personality?  Well,
Mashable has a great list of various posts that discusses how to establish your brand
      online, how to protect your name online, and how to present yourself professionally in various formats (ex. YouTube,
    
Twitter, Facebook, etc).  Like I have told my students and said in my guest lectures on this topic, you are your best PR
      person you it is your job and obligation to make sure you are representing yourself professionally and positively both
     offline and online.

     Hope you all are having a wonderful day.

     Best Wishes,

     Karen