5 Ways to Help You Establish Your Internet Presence
These days, becoming an internet pro might be confused with having over a thousand Twitter followers, or maybe even 500+connections on LinkedIn. Here are a few tips to help you establish your presence on the internet that may even prove more useful than hitting that 2,000 Facebook friend mark.
Luke Strosnider, an adjunct professor at Loyola’s School of Communication teaches classes on web design, shares his expert views on today’s internet and how to make your name visible on the World Wide Web.
Learn the Language of the Internet
Coding is short for computer programming. It is essentially what makes websites function, the language of the internet. Why should you learn code? As much of our lives have shifted from print to web, there’s been an increased interest in people wanting to learn how programming languages work. In order to be an active consumer in a world aggressively being led by technology, it is becoming more and more important to learn to how these programs work.
Professor Strosnider suggests the website, CodeAcademy.com, which he uses when teaching his own web design courses. “The website simplifies the process of learning to code by providing the learner with structured courses beginning with simple website coding fundamentals and eventually graduating into more advanced programming languages,” says Strosnider.
The expectation, he says, is not to become a computer whiz and start writing your own software but with the internet being such an integral part our culture,” knowing how something works enriches our lives and involvement in the world.”
Companies often hire people solely for their knowledge in coding, thus learning even basic code can add to your professional skills. As Strosnider says, “It’s never going to hurt to know more.”
Know Your Internet Freedoms
The web is filled with opportunities and places where you can build and share your own things. Strosnider says he likes checking in on Creative Commons, which he says gives “an overview of people who are interested in making digital content that is shareable” as opposed to copyright, which puts restrictions on sharing.
According to its website, Creative Commons “is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.” It is essentially a place where your creative work can be licensed and shared on your own conditions.
Tune into Web Culture
Last year’s commotion over Internet privacy acts such as the Stop Online piracy Act (SOPA) and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) took the blogosphere by storm as people voiced their opinions against what they felt like was an infringement on their personal freedoms.
Strosnider believes it’s important to be well versed with web culture, that is blogs, and sites such as Boing Boing. Strosnider says, “Sites such as Boing Boing illustrate the privacy issues, tensions between the government, corporations and individuals and how they are using the web and excercising freedoms.”
Life Outside of Facebook
With social media sites reaching their multi-million-member marks, it may prove slightly difficult to stand out as just another number. “There is an expectation to have a web presence, to be findable and active,” says Strosnider.
Strosnider agrees that Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent tools for staying connected professionally and personally but for Strosnider, the importance lies in building something he has complete control over. “It’s something to call my own,” says Strosnider.
For that, he uses WordPress. The website allows you to build your own either completely from scratch or using a premade theme, offered on the “.com” variation of the website.“It’s important to keep hold of the idea that you can do it yourself,” says Strosnider. He notes, “you forget how easy it actually is to do it yourself.”
Use Alternative Software
The philosophy of Open Source allows for the free distribution of software, oftentimes “alternatives to well-known commercial products,” according to the website opensource.com.
Many websites, including WordPress.org, provide open source software to the public for free, in response to corporate-owned softwares that would otherwise come at much higher costs to the consumer.
Strosnider is supportive of the open-source philosophy, referring to websites such as Open Source Alternative, which lists alternatives to programs such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, etc. Open Source software allows users of any technological level or income level to utilize products that may otherwise have cost them a large sum of money.
Here’s a clip from the BBC Documentary “The Virtual Revolution” highlighting the way the Internet has changed modern life:
For more information and to see the work of Luke Strosnider, visit LukeStrosnider.com.
Photo by “Public Domain Pictures”/CreativeCommons.org